Jack Albertson

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Jack Albertson
Jack Albertson in 1976's The Sad and Lonely Sundays.jpg
Jack Albertson in 1976
Born(1907-06-16)June 16, 1907
Malden, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedNovember 25, 1981(1981-11-25) (aged 74)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Colorectal cancer
Resting place
Other namesJackie Alberts
OccupationActor, comedian, dancer, singer
Years active1938–1981
Spouse(s)Wallace Thompson (1952-1981; his death)
RelativesMabel Albertson (sister)
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Jack Albertson
Jack Albertson in 1976's The Sad and Lonely Sundays.jpg
Jack Albertson in 1976
Born(1907-06-16)June 16, 1907
Malden, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedNovember 25, 1981(1981-11-25) (aged 74)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Colorectal cancer
Resting place
Other namesJackie Alberts
OccupationActor, comedian, dancer, singer
Years active1938–1981
Spouse(s)Wallace Thompson (1952-1981; his death)
RelativesMabel Albertson (sister)

Jack Albertson (June 16, 1907 – November 25, 1981) was an American character actor who also performed in vaudeville.[1] A comedian, dancer, singer, and musician, Albertson is perhaps best known for his roles as Manny Rosen in The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), Amos Slade from The Fox and the Hound (1981) and as Ed Brown in the 1974–78 television sitcom Chico and the Man. For his contributions to the television industry, Albertson was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6253 Hollywood Boulevard.[2] He earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the The Subject Was Roses (1968).

Early life[edit]

Albertson was born in Malden, Massachusetts, the son of Russian-born Jewish immigrants Flora (née Craft) and Leopold Albertson.[3][4] His sister was actress Mabel Albertson. Albertson's mother, a stock actress, supported the family by working in a shoe factory.[3] 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.


Throughout his career, 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.[5]

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[edit]

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 25 November 1981, aged 74, after 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.


1938Next Time I MarryReporterunconfirmed
1940Strike Up the BandBarkeruncredited
1947Miracle on 34th StreetAl, Post Office mail sorteruncredited
1952Anything Can HappenFlower Vendoruncredited
1954Top BananaVic Davis
1955Bring Your Smile AlongMr. Jenson
1956Over-ExposedLes Baueruncredited
The Harder They FallPop
The Eddy Duchin StoryPiano tuneruncredited
The Unguarded MomentProf
You Can't Run Away from ItThird proprietor
1957Man of a Thousand FacesDr. J. Wilson Shields
Don't Go Near the WaterRep. George Jansen
Monkey on My BackSam Pian
1958Teacher's PetGuide
1959Never Steal Anything SmallSleep-Out Charlie Barnes
The Shaggy DogReporteruncredited
1961The George Raft StoryMilton
Lover Come BackFred
1962Convicts 4Art Teacher
Period of AdjustmentDesk Sergeant
Who's Got the Action?Hodges
Days of Wine and RosesTraynor
1963Son of FlubberMr. Barley
1964Kissin' CousinsCapt. Robert Jason Salbo
The PatsyTheatergoer with Helen
RoustaboutLou (tea house manager)
1965How to Murder Your WifeDr. Bentley
1967The Flim-Flam ManMr. Packard
1968How To Save A Marriage and Ruin Your LifeMr. Slotkin
The Subject Was RosesJohn ClearyAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actor
ChangesThe Father
1970Squeeze a FlowerAlfredo Brazzi
Rabbit, RunMarty Tothero
1971Once Upon a Dead Man
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate FactoryGrandpa Joe
The Late LizReverend Gordon Rogers
1972Pickup on 101Hobo
The Poseidon AdventureManny Rosen
1981The Fox and the HoundHunter (Amos Slade)voice
Dead & BuriedWilliam G. Dobbs
1982My Body, My ChildPoppa MacMahonTV film

Television credits – recurrent roles[edit]

1957–59The Thin ManLt. Harry Evans14 episodes
1959–62The Jack Benny ProgramReporter6 episodes
1961–64Mister EdPaul Fenton7 episodes
1962Room for One MoreWalter Burton8 episodes
1962-63Ensign O'TooleLt. Cdr. Virgil Stoner32 episodes
1971–72Dr. Simon LockeDr. Andrew Sellers
1974–78Chico and the ManEd Brown88 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)
1978Grandpa Goes to WashingtonSenator Joe Kelley7 episodes

Television – guest roles[edit]

1956I Love LucyHelicopter Dispatcherepisode: "Bon Voyage"
CrusaderErnie Duchekepisode: "The Syndicate"
Sheriff of CochiseGreenbriar Merrittepisode: "Closed for Repairs"
1957–60Have Gun, Will TravelMayor Whiteside
Jason Coldwell
episode: "Out at the Old Ball Park"
episode: "The Teacher"
episode: "High Wire"
1958Bachelor FatherCharlie Sharpe
episode: "Bentley and the Finishing School"
episode: "Woman of the House"
The People's ChoiceLuther Jenkinsepisode: "Daisies Won't Tell", with Jackie Cooper
1959Richard Diamond, Private DetectiveFallaceepisode: "Boomerang Bait"
1959–61The Many Loves of Dobie GillisBison Lodge Member
Police Sergeant
Newspaper Reporter
Mr. Quimby
Police chief
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"'
1960The Gale Storm ShowFreddy Morellepisode: "Show Biz"
The Tab Hunter ShowCoachepisode: "My Darling Teacher"
The Ann Sothern ShowMr. Dooleyepisode: "Billy"
HappyEd Langleyepisode: "Chris' Night Out"
KlondikeEskimo Eddieepisode: "Sure Thing, Men"
1961RiverboatSampson J. Bintonepisode: "Listen to the Nightingale"'
The Twilight ZoneJerry Harloweepisode: "The Shelter"
1962The Dick Van Dyke ShowMr. Eisenbauerepisode: "The Twizzle"
Bus StopLawsonepisode: "Turn Home Again"
Saints and SinnersDr. Felixsonepisode: "All the Hard Young Men"
LawmanDoc Petersepisode: "The Unmasked"
1963GlynisAlepisode: "The Pros and Cons"
The Twilight ZoneThe Genieepisode: "I Dream Of Genie"
The LieutenantDistrict Attorneyepisode: "Cool of the Evening"
1964Death Valley DaysPearlmanepisode: "Sixty-Seven Miles of Gold"
1966–67Run for Your LifeHarry Krisselepisode: "Cry Hard, Cry Fast"
episode: "The Treasure Seekers"
1967The Andy Griffith ShowBradford J. Taylorepisode: "Aunt Bee's Cousin"
1968IronsideMoney Howardepisode: "Side Pocket"'
1968–72BonanzaJonathan May
Enos Blessing
episode: "The Sound of Sadness"
episode: "A Girl Named George"
1969The Big ValleyJudge Ben Mooreepisode: "The Battle of Mineral Springs"
The MonkTinkerABC Movie of the Week
1969–70Land of the GiantsProfessor Kirmus
episode: "Panic"
episode: "Return of Inidu"
The VirginianBilly "Moose" Valentine
Nathaniel E. "Doc" Watson
episode: "With Love, Bullets, and Valentines"
episode: "The Girl in the Shadows"
1969–74GunsmokeMoses Darby
Joshua Finch
Lucius Prince
Danny Wilson
episode: "Cowtown Hustle"
episode: "One for the Road"
episode: "Danny"
1970Marcus Welby, M.D.Mr. Chambersepisode: "Go Get 'Em, Tiger"
Daniel BooneSweetepisode: "Run for the Money"
Nanny and the ProfessorEdwin Higgenbotham Botkinepisode: "The Haunted House"
1971Love, American StyleArchiesegment: "Love and the Second Time"
1972Night GalleryBullivantepisode: "Dead Weight"
1973The Streets of San FranciscoTim Murphyepisode: "The Set-Up"
1975Tony Orlando and DawnHimselfepisode: Episode #1.20
Mitzi and 100 GuysHimself(TV movie)
CherHimselfepisode: "Episode #1.4"
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance in Variety or Music
Match Game '75Himself5 episodes
1976Donny & MarieHimselfEpisode dated 6 April 1976
1980Charlie's AngelsEdward Jordanepisode: "Angel in Hiding"


  1. ^ Obituary Variety, December 2, 1981.
  2. ^ Albertson "Hollywood Walk of Fame database". HWOF.com. 
  3. ^ a b Jack Albertson's Kinship to Cloris Leachman and Sharon Stone
  4. ^ Berkvist, Robert (1973-01-07). "Jack Spreads A Little Sunshine; Jack Spreads Sunshine". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  5. ^ ""Listen to the Nightingale", Riverboat, January 2, 1961". IMDb. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 

External links[edit]