John Randolph (actor)
|Born||Emanuel Hirsch Cohen
June 1, 1915
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||February 24, 2004
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Sarah Cunningham (1942–1986; her death; 2 children)|
Randolph was born Emanuel Hirsch Cohen in New York City, the son of Jewish immigrants Dorothy (née Shorr), an insurance agent, and Louis Cohen, a hat manufacturer. His stepfather was Joseph Ted Romer Lippman, and as a result Randolph was briefly known as Mortimer Romer Lippman during his childhood. In the 1930s, he was active in politics, as well as acting. Randolph summered at Pine Brook Country Club in Nichols, Connecticut which was the summer home of the Group Theatre (New York). Some of the other artists who summered there were; Elia Kazan, Harry Morgan, John Garfield, Lee J. Cobb, Will Geer, Clifford Odets, Howard Da Silva and Irwin Shaw. He made his Broadway debut in 1938 in Coriolanus. Randolph joined the United States Army Air Forces in World War II.
He wound up blacklisted by the Hollywood studio bosses in 1955 after he refused to answer questions and claimed the Fifth Amendment before the HUAC relating to the Cold War Communist infiltration of the State Department. In 1988 he was elected president of the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, which succeeded the National Council on Soviet Relations, founded in 1941. The NCSR grew out of the more overtly radical American-Soviet friendship movement of the 1930s, whose organizational center was the Friends of the Soviet Union founded in 1929. The Council, composed largely of professionals who were sympathetic to Socialism, believed that the USSR and the United States should join together in their common fight against fascism. In 1946, the House Un-American Activities Committee began a formal investigation of NCASF, and in 1947, it was indicted for failure to register with the Subversive Activities Control Board. Throughout its operation, the NCASF issued numerous pamphlets and bibliographies about life in the Soviet Union, as well as information on American-Soviet relations.
Randolph was the last blacklisted actor to regain employment in Hollywood films when director John Frankenheimer cast him in the lead role in Seconds in 1966. Randolph was in the original New York stage productions of The Sound of Music (as Von Trapp's butler, Franz), Paint Your Wagon, and The Visit.
He won the 1987 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in the Neil Simon play, Broadway Bound. He made his last Broadway appearance in 1991 in Prelude to a Kiss.
With numerous screen and television appearances in secondary roles, among which he played Donna Pescow's father in-law on the television series, Angie, his was a familiar face. He was often stopped on the street by people who asked if they knew him. He would reply, "Yes, I've been in your living room many times."
In the 1970s he made 3 appearances as Cornelius "Junior" Harrison, father of Emily Hartley in The Bob Newhart Show. In 1975, Randolph was cast as General Philip Blankenship in The New Original Wonder Woman.
In 1982, he appeared in a first season episode of Family Ties as Jake Keaton, Steven Keaton's father, who shared an adversarial relationship with his son before finally revealing during his latest visit that he was, in fact, dying. His death was dealt with off-screen and addressed during a final season flashback following Steven's heart attack. In between, Jake was seen one other time (played by Michael Alldredge) in a flashback to Steven's childhood while he is visiting back home following Jake's death. In 1989, he appeared in two episodes of the hit sitcom Roseanne as Roseanne and Jackie's father, Al Harris. As he only appeared in the first and second seasons, the character was only referred to over the course of the series (his character's extramarital affairs were introduced late in the series as a way of explaining Roseanne's parents' estrangement and his departure from the scene).
In 1990, he co-starred in the NBC comedy Grand.
He appeared in "The Handicap Spot", an early episode of the television sitcom Seinfeld as Frank Costanza, George Costanza's father. He was later replaced by Jerry Stiller. In 1995, the scenes in which Randolph appeared were re-shot with Stiller. The re-shot version is shown in syndication in the United States. The original version, with Randolph, can be seen outside the U.S. and on DVD.
He costarred with Alec Guinness, Leo McKern, Jeanne Moreau and Lauren Bacall, in the BBC production of A Foreign Field (1993) as a World War II veteran returning to France to find the woman he fell in love with. Among his most famous film roles was Chief Sidney Green in Serpico (1973), directed by Sidney Lumet. He also played the father of Charlie Partana (played by Jack Nicholson) in Prizzi's Honor and Clark W. Griswold, Sr. in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (with Chevy Chase). One of his last film roles was as Joe Fox's grandfather in You've Got Mail (1998).
On February 24, 2004, Randolph died of natural causes at age eighty-eight.
- "Film Reference bio". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- People's Weekly World: "John Randolph's life and legacy"[dead link]
- Ronald Bergan (2004-03-08). "John Randolph The Guardian Article". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- "John Randolph Biography - Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- "Pinewood Lake website retrieved on 2010-09-10". Pinewoodlake.org. 2009-05-20. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- Images of America, Trumbull Historical Society, 1997, p. 123
- CNN.com, February 27, 2004
- John Randolph at Find a Grave
- John Randolph at the Internet Broadway Database
- John Randolph at the Internet Movie Database
- In Remembrance: John Randolph