Wertimer as Ralph Hart on The Jeffersons
October 27, 1923|
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Died||January 2, 2013
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Complications from fall|
|Education||Bachelor of Business Administration|
|Alma mater||University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business|
|Known for||Ralph Hart, the doorman on The Jeffersons|
|Spouse(s)||Dr. Skyne Uku-Wertimer (1971-2013, his death)|
Ned Wertimer (October 27, 1923 – January 2, 2013) was an American actor. He was best known for his role as Ralph Hart, the doorman on the sitcom The Jeffersons, one of the longest-running sitcoms in American television history.
Life and career
Wertimer was born on October 27, 1923 in Buffalo, New York. He served as a Navy pilot in World War II, and later received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. While at the school, he became a member of its "Mask and Wig Club," an all-male comedy and musical troupe.
Theatre, television and film
After graduating college, Wertimer went to New York City to perform Broadway theatre in such shows as Texas Li'l Darlin', a 1949 musical by Robert E. Dolan and Johnny Mercer; 1950's The Live Wire by Garson Kanin; 1950's The Disenchanted, by Budd Schulberg, with Jason Robards; and 1963's All in Good Time by Bill Naughton. He also began performing in small roles in television, a new medium at the time. He was able to show his improvisational skills as a regular guest on The Shari Lewis Show.
In the mid-1960s, Wertimer moved to Los Angeles to continue his burgeoning television career. He had over 100 guest-star credits on such shows as Gunsmoke, McMillan & Wife, Car 54, Where Are You?, The Debbie Reynolds Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, Mork & Mindy, He & She and Family Law. He also appeared in such films as Mame, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, The Impossible Years, Pinocchio, The Strongest Man in the World, The Pack and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
Wertimer appeared as doorman Ralph Hart in a 1975 All in the Family episode titled "The Jeffersons Move on Up," which was the pilot for the spin-off series The Jeffersons. The Hart character carried over and Wertimer appeared as the doorman who always sought a gratuity for his services in 51 of the 253 episodes.
Personal life and death
Wertimer loved traveling around the world, from riding a camel in Egypt to riding an elephant in Thailand to swimming in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. In addition to his performers' union work, Wertimer was also a voting member for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Emmy Awards. Soon after moving to California in the mid-1960s, he met and married Dr. Skyne Uku, professor emeritus at California State University, Long Beach.
According to Wertimer's manager, he had fallen at his home in Burbank, California in November 2012. He never recovered from it and died on January 2, 2013, at the Sherman Village Health Care Center in Los Angeles. He was 89 years old.
- Barnes, Mike (January 8, 2013). "Character Actor Ned Wertimer Dies at 89". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
- "Ned Wertimer, Doorman on 'Jeffersons,' Dies at 89". ABC News. Associated Press. January 9, 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
- "The Jeffersons Co-Star Ned Wertimer Passes Away at Age 89". tv.broadwayworld.com. January 8, 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2013.