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|Burns in 1961|
(1896-01-20)January 20, 1896
New York City, U.S.
|Deceased||March 9, 1996(1996-03-09)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), California|
|Other names||Nattie, Nate|
|Profession(s)||Actor, comedian, writer, singer|
(m. 1917; div. 1921)
(m. 1926; her death 1964)
|Kid(s)||2, including Ronnie Burns|
George Burns (born Nathan Birnbaum ; New York, January 20, 1896 – Beverly Hills, California, March 9, 1996) was a comedian and actor American. His extensive career includes participation in theater, film, radio and television, including some with his wife, Gracie Allen. His most characteristic features during his almost 75-year career were his arched eyebrows and the cigar with which he always appeared on stage. But more remarkable is his artistic resurrection at an age when most people are retired or have already passed away. From the age of 79, until he died at 100, George Burns knew a level of fame that he had already lost and that he had not known since his years on the radio.
George Burns’s Biography
Nathan Birnbaum was the ninth of twelve children born of the marriage between Louis and Dorothy Birnbaum in New York. His parents were immigrants from Kolbuszowa, Galicia (now in Poland). His father was a substitute singer in the local synagogue. Because of the flu epidemic of 1903 his father died, which forced Nattie (as he was known by his family) to start working cleaning shoes, running errands or selling newspapers.
Burns left school in the fourth grade to devote himself to the world of entertainment. Like many interpreters of his generation, he tried practically all areas of the show, from skating, dancing or singing to theater. During that time he began to smoke cigars, and adopted the name by which he was known the rest of his life.
Burns almost always acted with a woman, sometimes dancing and, sometimes, as a comedic couple. It was with one of them, Gracie Allen, with whom he married in 1926 in Cleveland, Ohio, and with whom he stayed for thirty-eight years, until her death in 1964. Allen belonged to a show family (his mother it was the actress Ronnie Burns) of Irish and Catholic origin.
Burns began in the world of cinema in the 1930s, with films such as Ondas musicales (1932), Casa internacional (1933), Viaje de placer (1934), The Big Broadcast of 1936 (1935), The Big Broadcast of 1937 (1936), Miss in Disgrace (1937) or College Swing (1938), where Bob Hope made one of his first appearances in the cinema.
Burns and Allen were indirectly responsible for the appearance in the world of the show of one of the most famous comical couples in history, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. In 1938, William LeBaron, producer and executive director of the Paramount, had a script prepared by Don Hartman and Frank Butler to be starred by the couple Burns and Allen, along with a young man named Bing Crosby. The story was not very convincing to the couple, so LeBaron asked the scriptwriters to rewrite the script to be starred by a male partner. The film was called Singapore Route (1940), it was starred by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby and has gone down in history as the first movie of the couple Hope-Crosby.
By that time, Burns and Allen also started making radio. Their first appearance was in 1932, and for years they were one of the most popular radio couples in the United States, with programs in which they represented comical situations or had live music (for a short period of time, the musical director of their program it was the legend of the swing Artie Shaw). His most well-known program, George Burns & amp; Gracie Allen Show, had the participation of interpreters such as Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet and Hal March. Most of the radio career was on NBC, although in 1948 they moved to CBS, where in 1950 they made the leap to television. With a program that was called the same as the radio, The George Burns & amp; Gracie Allen Show, the couple continued to reap the same success they had until then.
Following advice from Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, they formed a company of their own, McCadden Corporation, with which they began to produce television programs and advertisements. In addition to his show, the company produced series such as The Bob Cummings Show; The People’s Choice, starring Jackie Cooper; Mona McClusky, with Juliet Prowse; or Mr. Ed, starring Alan Young and his “talking” horse.
The George Burns & amp; Gracie Allen Show was on the air until 1958, when Gracie retired due to her heart problems. It was at that moment, when Burns committed one of the biggest mistakes of his career: to continue the program without her. The whole cast was reunited to make The George Burns Show, but the result was not the same without Allen and the program lasted only one year.
In 1964, Gracie Allen died of a heart attack, which caused Burns to turn over at work to try to cope with the pain. McCadden Productions co-produced the television series No Time for Sergeants, based on a Broadway play, while he embarked on a series of performances in theaters and clubs throughout the United States, where he worked with peers such as Carol Channing, Dorothy Provine, Jane Russell, Connie Haines and Berle Davis.
Already in 1974, Jack Benny signed a contract to play one of the main roles in the film version of Neil Simon’s play The Crazy Couple. Benny’s health then began to fail, and he had to give up the role. His great friend Burns was the one who replaced him in the film and was the rebirth of his career. His portrayal of the withered actor Al Lewis awarded him the Oscar of the Academy for Best Supporting Actor. Until Jessica Tandy took the stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in 1990 to pick up her Oscar for Walking Miss Daisy, George Burns was the oldest person who had received this award.
From that moment, Burns returned to the cinema, starring in films like Oh, God! (1977), Oh, God! Book Two (1980) and Oh, God! You Devil (1984). In 1988 he starred in Plantón al cielo, where he plays a millionaire who exchanges his body with that of his eighteen-year-old grandson after a car accident. His latest film is Death in the Waves (1994), now ninety-eight years old.
Burns died of natural causes on March 9, 1996, forty-nine days after celebrating his centenary.
George Burns Net Worth – $30 Million
More Facts about George Burns
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