Bill Idelson

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Bill Idelson
Bill Idelson.jpg
Idelson in 1937
Born(1919-08-21)August 21, 1919
DiedDecember 31, 2007(2007-12-31) (aged 88)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationTelevision, voice actor, screenwriter, producer

Bill Idelson (August 21, 1919 – December 31, 2007) was an actor, writer, director and producer widely known for his teenage role as Rush Gook on the radio comedy Vic and Sade and his recurring television role as Herman Glimscher on The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960s.


Idelson was born in Forest Park, Illinois, his parents were Russian immigrants. He joined the U.S. Navy in World War II and was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross and four Air Medals as a night fighter pilot. He later married actress Seemah Wilder with whom he had three sons, Paul, Howie and Jonathan[1] as well as a daughter, TV writer and actress Ellen Idelson, who died in 2003.[1]

Idelson died in 2007 from complications due to a hip injury.[1] On his death, writer-director Norman Corwin told the Los Angeles Times Idelson was "a luminary, he stood out among the radio comedians."[1] Creator of the Dick Van Dyke Show, Carl Reiner, said Idelson was "a very subtle actor. He made no big movements, and every time you cut to him you could get a laugh."[1]



Idelson's acting career began in 1931 on Chicago's WGN radio, when he played Skeezix on Uncle Walt and Skeezix, a radio drama based on the Gasoline Alley comic strip.[2] One year later he landed the role of Rush on the long-running Vic and Sade, playing the role until he joined the U.S. Navy.

After the war, his acting credits included radio and television versions of the daytime drama series One Man's Family.[3]


In The Dick Van Dyke Show Idelson played Herman Glimscher, the milquetoast boyfriend of Sally Rogers (Rose Marie). "Herman could never marry because his mother wouldn't sign off on it yet, and when he had a date with Sally Rogers he brought his mother a couple of times," show creator and co-star Carl Reiner told the Los Angeles Times. He re-created the role in the first decade of the 21st Century for a reunion show of The Dick Van Dyke Show, with Herman finally married to Sally as she joins her former colleague Rob Petrie (Van Dyke) to write a new special for their megalomaniacal former boss, Alan Brady (Reiner).

Idelson guest starred on episodes of Dragnet, The Twilight Zone, My Favorite Martian, The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Perry Mason and Will & Grace, in which he appeared along with his wife and daughter.

He wrote several episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, leading him to further writing work on The Twilight Zone, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., The Andy Griffith Show, Get Smart, The Odd Couple, M*A*S*H and Happy Days. He received two Writers Guild Awards for best episodic comedy, one for an episode of Get Smart and the other for an episode of The Andy Griffith Show.

His producing credits included The McLean Stevenson Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Anna and the King and Love, American Style.


Idelson appeared as the head of a band organization in the film Pete Kelly's Blues.[4]


He was the author of three books, The Story of Vic and Sade, Gibby (an autobiographical novel about a fighter pilot) and Bill Idelson's Writing Class.


  1. ^ a b c d e Bill McLellan (January 6, 2008). "Actor, writer on episodic TV got his start in radio". L A Times.
  2. ^ DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 136.
  3. ^ Vernon, Terry (November 6, 1949). "Tele-Vues". Long Beach Independent. California, Long Beach. p. 22. Retrieved June 11, 2016 – via open access
  4. ^ "Bill Bows in 'Blues'". Ames Daily Tribune. Iowa, Ames. August 27, 1955. p. 2. Retrieved June 12, 2016 – via open access

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