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Shelley Berman
Born Sheldon Leonard Berman
February 3, 1926 (1926-02-03) (age 83)
Chicago, Illinois
Occupation Film, television actor, comedian

Sheldon Leonard "Shelley" Berman (born February 3, 1926) is an American comedian, writer, teacher, and actor.

Life and career

Berman was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Irene (née Marks) and Nathan Berman.[1] His early years were filled with dreams of the stage. After numerous failed serious plays, Berman found himself with The Compass Players, an improv comedy troupe, where he found his first success. This troupe would later become The Second City. He left the group in 1957.

His 1959 debut album, Inside Shelley Berman, was the first-ever winner of the spoken word Best Comedy Album at the Grammy Awards of 1960, and the cover of that album cemented his image as a skinny guy sitting on a high chair, cigarette in hand. He was the first standup comedian to appear at Carnegie Hall, and went on to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show (over 20 times), The Jack Paar Show, and numerous other variety and TV specials throughout the 1960s. He also appeared as Roy Chase in the 1963 episode "Whatsoever Things I Hear" of the ABC medical drama about psychiatry, Breaking Point. Berman's Broadway theatre credits include The Girls Against the Boys and A Family Affair.

By 1989, he had returned to comedy by taking small roles. In 1995, Berman released a new live comedy album called Live Again! At the Improv. Since then, he has been part of numerous projects, including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Boston Legal, Friends, Arli$$, King of Queens, The Bernie Mac Show and Meet the Fockers.

Since 1982, Berman has been teaching in the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California, in the subject of Writing Humor, Literary and Dramatic. He has written three books and continues to write and act. In 2006, he hosted the annual Chabad Telethon broadcast in several cities.

In 2007, he guest-starred in an episode of HBO's Entourage as "Uncle Shelley" to Mrs. Ari and her husband, Ari Gold. In 2008, he appeared alongside Adam Sandler in the movie You Don't Mess with the Zohan, playing the role of his father and also a veteran of the 6 Day War in Israel. In 2008, Berman appeared on the History Channel documentary History of the Joke hosted by Lewis Black. In 2009, he appeared in the role of a Holocaust survivor rescued from Buchenwald by Mac Taylor's father on a CSI: NY episode titled "Yahrzeit" as well as an episode of ABC's The Unusuals ("The Tape Delay") as an elderly man who turns to crime to make a mark on the world.

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