Jack Albertson in 1976
June 16, 1907|
Malden, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||November 25, 1981
Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Other names||Jackie Alberts|
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, dancer, singer|
|Spouse(s)||Wallace Thompson (1952–1981; his death)|
|Relatives||Mabel Albertson (sister)|
Jack Albertson (June 16, 1907 – November 25, 1981) was an American character actor who also performed in vaudeville. A comedian, dancer, singer and musician, Albertson is perhaps best known for his roles as Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), Manny Rosen in The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Amos Slade in The Fox and the Hound (1981) and Ed Brown in the television sitcom Chico and the Man (1974–78). For his contributions to the television industry, Albertson was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6253 Hollywood Boulevard. He earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the The Subject Was Roses (1968).
Albertson was born in Malden, Massachusetts, the son of Russian-born Jewish immigrants Flora (née Craft) and Leopold Albertson. His sister was actress Mabel Albertson. Albertson's mother, a stock actress, supported the family by working in a shoe factory. Albertson dropped out of high school and traveled to New York City in an attempt to make it big in show business. He was too poor to get a room in a flophouse, so in the winter he would sleep on the IRT subway; he would catch the train for a nickel, and hide out when the transit workers would clear out the train at the end of the line. In the summer he slept in Central Park. Albertson's first real job in show business was with a vaudeville road troupe, the Dancing Verselle Sisters.
Albertson worked in burlesque as a hoofer (soft shoe dancer) and straight man to Phil Silvers on the Minsky's Burlesque Circuit. Besides vaudeville and burlesque, he appeared on the stage in many Broadway plays and musicals, including High Button Shoes, Top Banana, The Cradle Will Rock, Make Mine Manhattan, Show Boat, Boy Meets Girl, Girl Crazy, Meet the People, The Sunshine Boys (for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor), and The Subject Was Roses (for which he won a Tony for Best Supporting Actor). He was also known for two radio programs, Just Plain Bill and The Jack Albertson Comedy Show.
Albertson appeared in more than thirty films. He had an early minor role in Miracle on 34th Street as a postal worker who redirects dead letters addressed to "Santa Claus" to the courthouse where Kris Kringle is on trial. He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1968 film The Subject Was Roses. He later apologized to Jack Wild for winning the award; Wild was also nominated and Albertson expected Wild to win. Albertson appeared as Charlie Bucket's Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), and in The Poseidon Adventure (1972), where he played Manny Rosen, husband to Belle (played by Shelley Winters). Albertson said that his one regret was that he was not asked to reprise his role in the movie version of The Sunshine Boys.
Albertson was a radio performer and for a time a regular on the Milton Berle program in the late 1940s.
Albertson appeared in many television series, such as CBS's Hey, Jeannie! with Jeannie Carson; the syndicated western series Frontier Doctor with Rex Allen; Rod Cameron's syndicated crime drama State Trooper; and ABC's 1961–62 drama series Bus Stop. He guest-starred on the David Janssen crime drama series Richard Diamond, Private Detective. From 1960 to 1961, Albertson was cast in three episodes of the CBS sitcom Pete and Gladys, with Harry Morgan and Cara Williams. On January 2, 1961, Albertson was cast as Sampson J. Binton, with DeForest Kelley as Alex Jeffords, in "Listen to the Nightingale", the series finale of the NBC western series Riverboat, starring Darren McGavin. Albertson had a recurring role as the neighbor Walter Burton in eight episodes of the 1962 ABC sitcom Room for One More, with Andrew Duggan and Peggy McCay. He had recurring roles in Dean Jones's NBC military sitcom Ensign O'Toole (1962–63) and Jack Sheldon's CBS sitcom Run, Buddy, Run (1966).
Other 1960s series on which Albertson appeared were NBC's sitcom, Happy starring Ronnie Burns, and CBS's sitcom/drama Glynis, starring Glynis Johns and Keith Andes, which aired for 13 weeks in the fall of 1963. Albertson also appeared in two episodes of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone. He starred in "The Shelter" as Jerry Harlowe, the neighbor and best friend of physician Bill Stockton, and as the Genie in "I Dream of Genie". In a 1967 episode of CBS's The Andy Griffith Show, he played the n'er-do-well cousin, Bradford J. Taylor, of series character Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier). Albertson co-starred as "The Man" Ed Brown in NBC's Chico and the Man, with Freddie Prinze, for which he earned an Emmy. Albertson is one of the few entertainers to have won the triple crown of visual entertainment (a Tony, an Oscar, and an Emmy).
Personal life and death
He resided for years in West Hollywood, California. In 1978, he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, but kept this information private and continued to act. Two of his last roles were in the television movies, My Body, My Child (1982) and Grandpa, Will You Run With Me? (1983), both filmed in 1981 several months before his death, both of which were released posthumously.
Albertson died on November 25, 1981 from a three-year illness. He and sister Mabel Albertson, who died ten months later, were cremated and their ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.
|1938||Next Time I Marry||Reporter||unconfirmed|
|1940||Strike Up the Band||Barker||uncredited|
|1947||Miracle on 34th Street||Al, Post Office mail sorter||uncredited|
|1952||Anything Can Happen||Flower Vendor||uncredited|
|1954||Top Banana||Vic Davis|
|1955||Bring Your Smile Along||Mr. Jenson|
|The Harder They Fall||Pop|
|The Eddy Duchin Story||Piano tuner||uncredited|
|The Unguarded Moment||Prof|
|You Can't Run Away from It||Third proprietor|
|1957||Man of a Thousand Faces||Dr. J. Wilson Shields|
|Don't Go Near the Water||Rep. George Jansen|
|Monkey on My Back||Sam Pian|
|1959||Never Steal Anything Small||Sleep-Out Charlie Barnes|
|The Shaggy Dog||Reporter||uncredited|
|1961||The George Raft Story||Milton|
|Lover Come Back||Fred|
|1962||Convicts 4||Art Teacher|
|Period of Adjustment||Desk Sergeant|
|Who's Got the Action?||Hodges|
|Days of Wine and Roses||Traynor|
|1963||Son of Flubber||Mr. Barley|
|1964||Kissin' Cousins||Capt. Robert Jason Salbo|
|The Patsy||Theatergoer with Helen|
|Roustabout (film)||Lou (tea house manager)|
|1965||How to Murder Your Wife||Dr. Bentley|
|1967||The Flim-Flam Man||Mr. Packard|
|1968||How To Save A Marriage and Ruin Your Life||Mr. Slotkin|
|The Subject Was Roses||John Cleary||Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1970||Squeeze a Flower||Alfredo Brazzi|
|Rabbit, Run||Marty Tothero|
|1971||Once Upon a Dead Man|
|Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory||Grandpa Joe|
|The Late Liz||Reverend Gordon Rogers|
|1972||Pickup on 101||Hobo|
|The Poseidon Adventure||Manny Rosen|
|1981||The Fox and the Hound||Hunter (Amos Slade)||voice|
|Dead & Buried||William G. Dobbs|
|1982||My Body, My Child||Poppa MacMahon||TV film; filmed in 1981; released posthumously; final role|
Television credits – recurrent roles
|1957–59||The Thin Man||Lt. Harry Evans||14 episodes|
|1959–62||The Jack Benny Program||Reporter||6 episodes|
|1961–64||Mister Ed||Paul Fenton||7 episodes|
|1962||Room for One More||Walter Burton||8 episodes|
|1962–63||Ensign O'Toole||Lt. Cdr. Virgil Stoner||32 episodes|
|1971–72||Dr. Simon Locke||Dr. Andrew Sellers|
|1974–78||Chico and the Man||Ed Brown||88 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1976)
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1975, 1977)
|1978||Grandpa Goes to Washington||Senator Joe Kelley||7 episodes|
Television – guest roles
|1956||I Love Lucy||Helicopter Dispatcher||episode: "Bon Voyage"|
|Crusader||Ernie Duchek||episode: "The Syndicate"|
|Sheriff of Cochise||Greenbriar Merritt||episode: "Closed for Repairs"|
|1957–60||Have Gun, Will Travel||Mayor Whiteside
|episode: "Out at the Old Ball Park"
episode: "The Teacher"
episode: "High Wire"
|1958||Bachelor Father||Charlie Sharpe
|episode: "Bentley and the Finishing School"
episode: "Woman of the House"
|The People's Choice||Luther Jenkins||episode: "Daisies Won't Tell", with Jackie Cooper|
|1959||Richard Diamond, Private Detective||Fallace||episode: "Boomerang Bait"|
|1959–61||The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis||Bison Lodge Member
|episode: "Have You Stopped Beating Your Wife?"
episode: "Maynard G. Krebs, Boy Millionaire"
episode: "'You Ain't Nuthin' But a Houn' Dog"
episode: "Competition Is the Life of Trade"
episode: "Deck the Halls"'
|1960||The Gale Storm Show||Freddy Morell||episode: "Show Biz"|
|The Tab Hunter Show||Coach||episode: "My Darling Teacher"|
|The Ann Sothern Show||Mr. Dooley||episode: "Billy"|
|Happy||Ed Langley||episode: "Chris' Night Out"|
|Klondike||Eskimo Eddie||episode: "Sure Thing, Men"|
|1961||Riverboat||Sampson J. Binton||episode: "Listen to the Nightingale"'|
|The Twilight Zone||Jerry Harlowe||episode: "The Shelter"|
|1962||The Dick Van Dyke Show||Mr. Eisenbauer||episode: "The Twizzle"|
|Bus Stop||Lawson||episode: "Turn Home Again"|
|Saints and Sinners||Dr. Felixson||episode: "All the Hard Young Men"|
|Lawman||Doc Peters||episode: "The Unmasked"|
|1963||Glynis||Al||episode: "The Pros and Cons"|
|The Twilight Zone||The Genie||episode: "I Dream of Genie"|
|The Lieutenant||District Attorney||episode: "Cool of the Evening"|
|1964||Death Valley Days||Pearlman||episode: "Sixty-Seven Miles of Gold"|
|1966–67||Run for Your Life||Harry Krissel||episode: "Cry Hard, Cry Fast"
episode: "The Treasure Seekers"
|1967||The Andy Griffith Show||Bradford J. Taylor||episode: "Aunt Bee's Cousin"|
|1968||Ironside||Money Howard||episode: "Side Pocket"'|
|episode: "The Sound of Sadness"
episode: "A Girl Named George"
|1969||The Big Valley||Judge Ben Moore||episode: "The Battle of Mineral Springs"|
|The Monk||Tinker||ABC Movie of the Week|
|1969–70||Land of the Giants||Professor Kirmus
episode: "Return of Inidu"
|The Virginian||Billy "Moose" Valentine
Nathaniel E. "Doc" Watson
|episode: "With Love, Bullets, and Valentines"
episode: "The Girl in the Shadows"
|episode: "Cowtown Hustle"
episode: "One for the Road"
|1970||Marcus Welby, M.D.||Mr. Chambers||episode: "Go Get 'Em, Tiger"|
|Daniel Boone||Sweet||episode: "Run for the Money"|
|Nanny and the Professor||Edwin Higgenbotham Botkin||episode: "The Haunted House"|
|1971||Love, American Style||Archie||segment: "Love and the Second Time"|
|1972||Night Gallery||Bullivant||episode: "Dead Weight"|
|1973||The Streets of San Francisco||Tim Murphy||episode: "The Set-Up"|
|1975||Tony Orlando and Dawn||Himself||episode: Episode #1.20|
|Mitzi and 100 Guys||Himself||(TV movie)|
|Cher||Himself||episode: "Episode #1.4"
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance in Variety or Music
|Match Game '75||Himself||5 episodes|
|1976||Donny & Marie||Himself||Episode dated April 6, 1976|
|1980||Charlie's Angels||Edward Jordan||episode: "Angel in Hiding"|
- Obituary Variety, December 2, 1981.
- Albertson "Hollywood Walk of Fame database". HWOF.com.
- Jack Albertson's Kinship to Cloris Leachman and Sharon Stone
- Berkvist, Robert (January 7, 1973). "Jack Spreads A Little Sunshine; Jack Spreads Sunshine". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- ""Listen to the Nightingale", Riverboat, January 2, 1961". IMDb. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jack Albertson.|
- Jack Albertson at the Internet Movie Database
- Jack Albertson at the Internet Broadway Database
- Jack Albertson's Grave at Find A Grave.