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Jack Warden

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Jack Warden
Warden in the 1950s
John Warden Lebzelter Jr.

(1920-09-18)September 18, 1920
DiedJuly 19, 2006(2006-07-19) (aged 85)
Other namesJohnny Costello
Years active1945–2000
Vanda Dupre
(m. 1958)

Jack Warden (born John Warden Lebzelter Jr.;[1][2] September 18, 1920 – July 19, 2006) was an American character actor of film and television. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Shampoo (1975) and Heaven Can Wait (1978). He received a BAFTA nomination for Shampoo, and won a Primetime Emmy Award for his performance in Brian's Song (1971).

Early life


Warden was born in Newark, New Jersey,[3] the son of Laura M. (née Costello) and John Warden Lebzelter, who was an engineer and technician. He was of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) and Irish ancestry.[4] Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, he was expelled from high school for fighting and eventually fought as a professional boxer under the name Johnny Costello. He fought in 13 bouts as a welterweight, but earned little money.[5]

Military service


Warden worked as a nightclub bouncer, tugboat deckhand, and lifeguard, before joining the United States Navy in 1938. He was stationed for three years in China with the Yangtze Patrol.[5]

He joined the United States Merchant Marine in 1941, but he quickly tired of the long convoy runs.

In 1942, he moved to the United States Army, where he served as a paratrooper in the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, with the 101st Airborne Division in World War II.

In 1944, on the eve of the D-Day invasion (in which many of his friends died), Warden, then a staff sergeant, shattered his leg when he landed in a tree during a night-time practice jump in England. He spent almost eight months in the hospital recuperating, during which time he read a Clifford Odets play and decided to become an actor. Notably, Warden later portrayed a paratrooper from the 101st's rivals—the 82nd Airborne Division—in That Kind of Woman.[6][7]

After leaving the army, he moved to New York City and studied acting on the G.I. Bill.


Warden (left) as Mike Haines with Frank Converse as Det. Johnny Corso in ABC's N.Y.P.D. (1968)

He joined the company of the Theatre '47 of Dallas and moved there and performed on stage there for five years. In 1948, he made his television debut on the anthology series The Philco Television Playhouse and also appeared on the series Studio One. His first film roles were uncredited bit parts in the 1950 films The Asphalt Jungle and Sunset Boulevard, and he was also in the 1951 film You're in the Navy Now, which also featured the screen debuts of Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson.[3] Warden appeared in his first credited film role in 1951 in The Man with My Face.

From 1952 to 1955, he appeared in the television series Mister Peepers with Wally Cox. In 1953, he was cast as a sympathetic corporal in From Here to Eternity. Warden's breakthrough film role was Juror No. 7, a salesman who wants a quick decision in a murder case, in 12 Angry Men.

Warden guest-starred in many television series over the years, such as Marilyn Maxwell's ABC drama series, Bus Stop, and on David Janssen's ABC drama, The Fugitive. He received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his performance as Chicago Bears coach George Halas in the television movie, Brian's Song, and was twice nominated for his starring role in the 1980s comedy/drama series Crazy Like a Fox.

Warden was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor twice: for his performances in Shampoo and Heaven Can Wait. He also had notable roles in Bye Bye Braverman, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, All the President's Men, The White Buffalo, ...And Justice for All, Being There, Used Cars (in which he played dual roles), The Verdict, Problem Child and its sequel, as well as While You Were Sleeping, Guilty as Sin and the Norm Macdonald comedy Dirty Work.[6] His final film was The Replacements in 2000, opposite Gene Hackman and Keanu Reeves.

Personal life and death


Warden married French actress Vanda Dupre on October 10, 1958. They had one son, Christopher. Although they separated in the late 1970s, the couple never legally divorced.[8]

Warden's health declined in his later years, which resulted in his retirement from acting in 2000. He lived for the rest of his life in Manhattan, New York City, with his girlfriend, Marucha Hinds. He died of heart and kidney failure in a New York City hospital on July 19, 2006, at the age of 85.[9]




Year Title Role Notes
1950 The Asphalt Jungle Bit Role Uncredited
Sunset Boulevard Party Guest Uncredited
1951 You're in the Navy Now Tommy Morse Uncredited
The Frogmen Crew Member Uncredited
The Man with My Face Walt Davis
1952 Red Ball Express Undetermined Role Uncredited
1953 From Here to Eternity Corporal Buckley
1957 Edge of the City Charles Malik Alternate title: A Man Is Ten Feet Tall
The Bachelor Party Eddie Watkins, the Bachelor
12 Angry Men Juror #7
1958 Darby's Rangers Master Sergeant Saul Rosen
Run Silent, Run Deep Yeoman 1st Class "Kraut" Mueller
1959 The Sound and the Fury Ben Compson
That Kind of Woman George Kelly
1960 Wake Me When It's Over Dave "Doc" Farrington
1961 The Lawbreakers Captain/Acting Police Commissioner Matthew Gower Film adaptation of The Asphalt Jungle television episode "The Lady and the Lawyer"
1962 Escape from Zahrain Huston
1963 Donovan's Reef Doctor William Dedham
1964 The Thin Red Line First Sergeant Welsh
1966 Blindfold General Prat
1968 Bye Bye Braverman Barnet Weinstein
1971 The Sporting Club Earl Olive
Summertree Herb
Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? Dr. Solomon F. Moses
Welcome to the Club General Strapp
1973 The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing Dawes
1974 Billy Two Hats Sherriff Henry Gifford
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz Max
1975 Shampoo Lester Karpf Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1976 All the President's Men Harry M. Rosenfeld
1977 Raid on Entebbe Lt. Gen. Mordechai Gur
The White Buffalo Charlie Zane
1978 Heaven Can Wait Max Corkle Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Death on the Nile Doctor Ludwig Bessner
1979 The Champ Jackie
Dreamer Harry
Beyond the Poseidon Adventure Harold Meredith
...And Justice for All Judge Francis Rayford
Being There President "Bobby" of the United States
1980 Used Cars Roy L. Fuchs,
Luke Fuchs
1981 The Great Muppet Caper Mike Tarkanian, the News Editor
Carbon Copy Nelson Longhurst
Chu Chu and the Philly Flash The Commander
So Fine Jack Fine
1982 The Verdict Mickey Morrissey
1984 Crackers Garvey
1985 The Aviator Moravia
Alice in Wonderland Owl
1986 The Cosmic Eye Rocko Voice
1987 September Lloyd
1988 Dead Solid Perfect Hubert 'Bad Hair' Wimberly
The Presidio Sergeant Major Ross Maclure
1990 Everybody Wins Judge Harry Murdoch
Problem Child "Big" Ben Healy
1991 Problem Child 2 "Big" Ben Healy
1992 Passed Away Jack Scanlan
Night and the City Al Grossman
Toys Old General Zevo
1993 Guilty as Sin Moe
1994 Bullets over Broadway Julian Marx Nominated – Awards Circuit Community Award for Best Cast Ensemble
1995 While You Were Sleeping Saul
Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead Joe Heff
Mighty Aphrodite Tiresias
1996 Ed Chubb
1997 The Island on Bird Street Boruch
The Volunteers Richie
1998 Chairman of the Board Armand McMillan
Bulworth Eddie Davers
Dirty Work 'Pops' McKenna
1999 A Dog of Flanders Jehan Daas
2000 The Replacements Edward O'Neil


Year Title Role Notes
1952 Tales of Tomorrow Steve 1 episode
Mister Peepers Chicago Cabbie 1 episode
1953 The Campbell Playhouse 1 episode
Man Against Crime Deck Hand 2 episodes
1954–1955 Kraft Television Theatre Various roles 2 episodes
Studio One Various roles 3 episodes
1955 Justice Two roles "Flight from Fear" and "Save Me Now"
1956 The Alcoa Hour Frank Doran 1 episode
Climax! Lieutenant Ravenna "Flame-Out in T-6"
1958–1959 Playhouse 90 Various roles 3 episodes
1959 Five Fingers Fitzgerald "The Moment of Truth"
Bonanza Mike Wilson "The Paiute War"
1959–1960 The Twilight Zone James A. Corry
Mouth McGarry
"The Lonely"
"The Mighty Casey"
The Untouchables Larry Halloran
Otto Frick
The George 'Bugs' Moran Story
The Otto Frick Story
1960 Outlaws 2 episodes
1961 Route 66 Adam Darcy The Clover Throne
Checkmate Farrell "Between Two Guns"
Bus Stop Joe Harrison "Accessory by Consent"
The Asphalt Jungle Deputy Police Commissioner Matthew Gower 13 episodes
1962 Naked City Cornelius Daggett "Face of the Enemy"
Naked City Steve Lollo "The King of Venus Will Take Care of You"
Naked City Sam Langen "The Spectre of the Rose Street Gang"
Target: The Corruptors Jerry Skala "The Organizers, Parts 1 and 2"
Tales of Wells Fargo Brad Axton "The Traveler"
Route 66 Sandor Biro "Feat of Strength"
Going My Way Carl Wiczinski "Not Good Enough for Mary"
1963 Route 66 Major Barbon "Two Strangers and an Old Enemy"
77 Sunset Strip Max Eames "Flight 307"
1964 Breaking Point Carlo Scotti "No Squares in My Family Circle"
The Great Adventure Latham 1 episode
Bewitched Rex Barker "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog"
1965 The Virginian John Conway "Shadows of the Past"
Dr. Kildare Ernie Duffy 1 episode
1966 The Wackiest Ship in the Army Major Simon Butcher 29 episodes
1967 The Fugitive Alex Patton "Concrete Evidence"
The Invaders Barney Cahill 1 episode
1967–1969 N.Y.P.D. Lieutenant Mike Haines 49 episodes
1971 The Face of Fear Lieutenant George Coy Television film
Brian's Song George Halas ABC Movie of the Week
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama
1972 What's a Nice Girl Like You...? Lieutenant Burton ABC Movie of the Week
Lieutenant Schuster's Wife Captain Patrick Lonergan Television film
1973 Wheeler and Murdoch Sam Wheeler Television film
1974 The Godchild Sergeant Dobbs Television film
1975 Journey from Darkness Fred Hartman Television film
1976 Jigsaw John "Jigsaw" John St. John 15 episodes
1979–1980 The Bad News Bears Morris Buttermaker 23 episodes
1983 Hobson's Choice Henry Horatio Hobson Television film
1984 Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues Mark Twain Television film
1984–1986 Crazy Like a Fox Harrison "Harry" Fox Sr. 35 episodes
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1985–1986)
1985 A.D. Nerva Television miniseries
1987 Hoover vs. the Kennedys: The Second Civil War J. Edgar Hoover Television film
1988 Police Story: The Watch Commander Joe Wilson Television film
1989 Knight & Daye Hank Knight 1 episode
1990 Judgment Claude Fortier Television film
1995 Problem Child 3: Junior in Love Big Ben Television film
1997 Ink Timothy Logan 1 episode
1999 The Norm Show Harry 1 episode

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Film Result Ref.
1975 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Shampoo Nominated [10]
1978 Heaven Can Wait Nominated [11]
1994 Awards Circuit Community Awards Best Cast Ensemble Bullets Over Broadway Nominated
1975 British Academy Film Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Shampoo Nominated [12]
1972 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama Brian's Song Won [13]
1985 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Crazy Like a Fox Nominated
1986 Nominated


  1. ^ U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949, November 12, 1942; Army Serial Number:12165797 1, giving his name as "John W. Lebzelter Junior"; accessed May 3, 2014.
  2. ^ "Jack Warden, Emmy Winning Actor, Dies at 85". People.com. July 27, 2006. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Jack Warden, 85, Actor Known for Tough-Guy Roles, Is Dead". The New York Times. July 22, 2006. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  4. ^ Stinson, Charles (December 28, 1958). "Warden: the Face Is Familiar". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Vallance, Tom (July 24, 2006). "Jack Warden: Intense actor with comic flair". The Independent. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  6. ^ a b "'Shampoo' star Jack Warden dies at 85". Today.com. July 21, 2006.
  7. ^ Nelson, Valerie J. (July 22, 2006). "Jack Warden, 85; Prolific Film, TV Actor". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  8. ^ Jack Warden obituary, TimesOnline.co.uk; accessed May 3, 2014.
  9. ^ "Veteran US actor Jack Warden dies". news.bbc.co.uk. July 23, 2006.
  10. ^ "The 48th Academy Awards (1976) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Archived from the original on November 9, 2014. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  11. ^ "The 51st Academy Awards (1979) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on October 17, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
  12. ^ "BAFTA Awards: Film in 1976". BAFTA. 1976. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  13. ^ "Jack Warden". Emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved May 15, 2021.