Jack Warden

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Jack Warden
Jack Warden.jpg
Warden in the 1950s
BornJohn Warden Lebzelter, Jr.
(1920-09-18)September 18, 1920
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedJuly 19, 2006(2006-07-19) (aged 85)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death
Renal failure
Other namesJack Lebzelter
Jack Warden Lebzelter
Johnny Costello
Years active1948–2000
Spouse(s)Vanda Dupre (1958–2006, separated in the 1970s, never divorced); 1 child
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Jack Warden
Jack Warden.jpg
Warden in the 1950s
BornJohn Warden Lebzelter, Jr.
(1920-09-18)September 18, 1920
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedJuly 19, 2006(2006-07-19) (aged 85)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death
Renal failure
Other namesJack Lebzelter
Jack Warden Lebzelter
Johnny Costello
Years active1948–2000
Spouse(s)Vanda Dupre (1958–2006, separated in the 1970s, never divorced); 1 child

Jack Warden (September 18, 1920 – July 19, 2006) was an American character actor of film and television. He was twice nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for Shampoo (1975) and Heaven Can Wait (1978). He received a BAFTA nomination for the former movie and won an Emmy for his performance in Brian's Song (1971).

Early life[edit]

Warden was born John Warden Lebzelter, Jr.[1][2] in Newark, New Jersey,[3] the son of Laura M. (née Costello) and John Warden Lebzelter, who was an engineer and technician.[4]

He was of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) and Irish ancestry.[5] Reared in Louisville, Kentucky, he was expelled from high school for fighting and eventually fought as a professional boxer under the name Johnny Costello. He had 13 welterweight bouts, but earned little money.[6]

World War II[edit]

Warden worked as a nightclub bouncer, tugboat deckhand and lifeguard before joining the United States Navy in 1938. He was stationed in China for three years with the Yangtze River Patrol.[6]

In 1941, he joined the United States Merchant Marine but, quickly tiring of the long convoy runs, he switched to the United States Army in 1942 where he served as a paratrooper in the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, with the 101st Airborne Division during World War II. In 1944, on the eve of the D-Day invasion (during which many of his friends died), Warden, now a Staff Sergeant, shattered his leg by landing in a tree during a night-time practice jump in England. After almost eight months in the hospital (during which time he read a Clifford Odets play and decided to become an actor), he was sent back to the United States. Ironically In That Kind of Woman Warden played a paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne Division.[7][8]

After leaving the military with the rank of master sergeant, he moved to New York City and studied acting on the G.I. Bill. He joined the company of the Dallas Alley Theatre and performed on stage for five years. In 1948 he made his television debut on the anthology series, The Philco Television Playhouse and Studio One. His first film role, uncredited, was in the 1951 film You're in the Navy Now, a film which also featured the screen debuts of Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson.[3]


Warden (left) as Mike Haines in ABC's N.Y.P.D. (1968)

Warden appeared in his first credited film role in the 1951 in The Man with My Face. From 1952 to 1955, Warden appeared in the television series Mr. Peepers with Wally Cox. In 1953, Warden was cast as a sympathetic corporal in From Here to Eternity. Warden's breakthrough film role was his performance as Juror No. 7, a salesman who wants a quick decision in a murder case, in 12 Angry Men.

Warden guest-starred on many television series over the years, including two 1960 episodes of NBC's The Outlaws, on Marilyn Maxwell's ABC drama series, Bus Stop, and on David Janssen's ABC drama, The Fugitive. He received a supporting actor Emmy Award 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 Academy Awards as Best Supporting Actor for his performances in Shampoo and Heaven Can Wait. He also had notable roles in Bye Bye Braverman, All the President's Men, ...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.[7] His final film was The Replacements in 2000, opposite Gene Hackman and Keanu Reeves.

Personal life and death[edit]

Warden married French actress Vanda Dupre in 1958 and had one son, Christopher. Although they separated in the 1970s, the couple never divorced.[9]

Warden suffered from declining health in his last years which resulted in his retirement from acting in 2000. He died of heart and kidney failure in a New York hospital on July 19, 2006, at the age of 85.[10]


1950The Asphalt JungleBit RoleUncredited
1951The Man with My FaceWalt Davis
1953From Here to EternityCorporal Buckley
1957Edge of the CityCharles MalikAlternate title: A Man Is Ten Feet Tall
1957The Bachelor PartyEddie Watkins, the Bachelor
195712 Angry MenJuror No. 7
1958Run Silent, Run DeepYeoman 1st Class Mueller
1958Darby's RangersMaster Sergeant Saul Rosen
1959The Sound and the FuryBen Compson
1959That Kind of WomanGeorge Kelly
1960Wake Me When It's OverDave "Doc" Farrington
1961The LawbreakersCaptain/Acting Police Commissioner Matthew GowerFilm adaptation of the The Asphalt Jungle television episode "The Lady and the Lawyer"
1962Escape from ZahrainHuston
1963Donovan's ReefDoctor William Dedham
1964The Thin Red LineFirst Sergeant Welsh
1965BlindfoldGeneral Prat
1968Bye Bye BravermanBarnet Weinstein
1971Welcome to the ClubGeneral Strapp
1973The Man Who Loved Cat DancingDawes
1974The Apprenticeship of Duddy KravitzMax
1974Billy Two HatsSherriff Henry Gifford
1975ShampooLester KarpfFirst Academy Award nomination
1976All the President's MenHarry M. Rosenfeld
1977The White BuffaloCharlie Zane
1977Raid on EntebbeLt. Gen. Mordechai Gur
1978Death on the NileDoctor Ludwig Bessner
1978Heaven Can WaitMax CorkleSecond Academy Award nomination
1979The ChampJackie
1979Beyond the Poseidon AdventureHarold Meredith
1979Being TherePresident "Bobby" of the United States
1979...And Justice for AllJudge Francis Rayford
1980Used CarsRoy L. Fuchs
Luke Fuchs
1981The Great Muppet CaperMr. Tarkenian, the News Editor
1981Chu Chu and the Philly FlashThe Commander
1981Carbon CopyNelson Longhurst
1981So FineJack Fine
1982The VerdictMickey Morrissey
1985The AviatorMoravia
1986The Cosmic EyeRockoVoice
1988Dead Solid PerfectHubert 'Bad Hair' Wimberly
1988The PresidioSergeant Major Ross Maclure
1990Everybody WinsJudge Harry Murdoch
1990Problem Child"Big" Ben Healy
1991Problem Child 2"Big" Ben Healy
1992Passed AwayJack Scanlan
1992Night and the CityAl Grossman
1992ToysOld General Zevo
1993Guilty as SinMoe
1994Bullets Over BroadwayJulian Marx
1995Things to Do in Denver When You're DeadJoe Heff
1995Mighty AphroditeTiresias
1995While You Were SleepingSaul
1997The Island on Bird StreetBoruch
1998Chairman of the BoardArmand McMillan
1998Dirty WorkPops
1998BulworthEddie Davers
1999A Dog of FlandersJehan Daas
2000The ReplacementsEdward O'Neil


1952Tales of TomorrowSteve1 episode
1952Mr. PeepersChicago Cabbie1 episode
1953The Campbell Playhouse1 episode
1953Man Against CrimeDeck Hand2 episodes
1954-55Kraft Television TheatreVarious roles2 episodes
1954-55Studio OneVarious roles3 episodes
1955JusticeTwo roles"Flight from Fear" and "Save Me Now"
1956The Alcoa HourFrank Doran1 episode
1956Climax!Lieutenant Ravenna"Flame-Out in T-6"
1958-59Playhouse 90Various roles3 episodes
1959Five FingersFitzgerald"The Moment of Truth"
1959-60BonanzaMike Wilson"The Paiute War"
1959-60The Twilight ZoneJames A. Corry
Mouth McGarry
"The Lonely"
"The Mighty Casey"
1959-60The UntouchablesLarry Halloran
Otto Frick
The George 'Bugs' Moran Story
The Otto Frick Story
1960The Outlaws2 episodes
1961Route 66Adam DarcyThe Clover Throne
CheckmateFarrell"Between Two Guns"
Bus StopJoe Harrison"Accessory by Consent"
The Asphalt JungleDeputy Police Commissioner Matthew Gower13 episodes
1962Naked CityCornelius Daggett"Face of the Enemy"
Naked CitySteve Lollo"The King of Venus Will Take Care of You"
Naked CitySam Langen"The Spectre of the Rose Street Gang"
Target: The CorruptorsJerry Skala"The Organizers, Parts 1 and 2"
Tales of Wells FargoBrad Axton"The Traveler"
Route 66Sandor Biro"Feat of Strength"
Going My WayCarl Wiczinski"Not Good Enough for Mary"
1963Route 66Major Barbon"Two Strangers and an Old Enemy"
77 Sunset StripMax Eames"Flight 307"
1964Breaking PointCarlo Scotti"No Squares in My Family Circle"
1964The Great AdventureLatham1 episode
1964BewitchedRex Barker"It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog"
1965Dr. KildareErnie Duffy1 episode
1966The Wackiest Ship in the ArmyMajor Simon Butcher29 episodes
1967The FugitiveAlex Patton"Concrete Evidence"
1967The InvadersBarney Cahill1 episode
1967-69N.Y.P.D.Lieutenant Mike Haines49 episodes
1971The Face of FearLieutenant George CoyTelevision film
1971Brian's SongGeorge HalasABC Movie of the Week
1972What's a Nice Girl Like You...?Lieutenant BurtonABC Movie of the Week
1972Lieutenant Schuster's WifeCaptain Patrick LonerganTelevision film
1973Wheeler and MurdochSam WheelerTelevision film
1974The GodchildSergeant DobbsTelevision film
1975Journey from DarknessFred HartmanTelevision film
1976Jigsaw John"Jigsaw" John St. John15 episodes
1979-80The Bad News BearsMorris Buttermaker23 episodes
1983Hobson's ChoiceHenry Horatio HobsonTelevision film
1984Helen Keller: The Miracle ContinuesMark TwainTelevision film
1984-86Crazy Like a FoxHarrison "Harry" Fox, Sr.35 episodes
1987Hoover vs. the Kennedys: The Second Civil WarJ. Edgar HooverTelevision film
1988Police Story: The Watch CommanderJoe WilsonTelevision film
1989Knight & DayeHank Knight1 episode
1990JudgmentClaude FortierTelevision film
1995Problem Child 3: Junior in LoveBig BenTelevision film
1997InkTimothy Logan1 episode
1999The Norm ShowHarry1 episode

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAwardResultCategoryFilm or series
1972Emmy AwardWonOutstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in DramaBrian's Song
1985NominatedOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesCrazy Like a Fox
1986Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesCrazy Like a Fox
1976Academy AwardBest Actor in a Supporting RoleShampoo
1979Best Actor in a Supporting RoleHeaven Can Wait
1976BAFTA AwardBest Supporting ActorShampoo


  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. ^ "Jack Warden profile at". filmreference.com. Retrieved October 12, 2008. 
  5. ^ Stinson, Charles (December 28, 1958). "Warden: the Face Is Familiar". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Vallance, Tom (July 24, 2006). "Jack Warden: Intense actor with comic flair". The Independent. Retrieved October 12, 2008. 
  7. ^ a b "'Shampoo' star Jack Warden dies at 85". msnbc.msn.com. July 21, 2006. 
  8. ^ Nelson, Valerie J. (July 22, 2006). "Jack Warden, 85; Prolific Film, TV Actor". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 12, 2008. 
  9. ^ Jack Warden obituary, TimesOnline.co.uk; accessed May 3, 2014.
  10. ^ "Veteran US actor Jack Warden dies". news.bbc.co.uk. July 23, 2006. 

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