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Ed Wynn

Biography

Vaudeville comedian and film actor who hosted a favorite radio display, The Fire Main, for most from the 1930s. He was nominated for an Academy Honor for Best Assisting Acting professional in 1959 for his part in The Journal of Anne Frank. He worked well for a touring stage organization and offered hats for his father’s shop. He is most widely known for The Ed Wynn Display aswell as his appearance in Marry Poppins as the person floating around underneath the roof in uncontrollable laughter. He was wedded to Hilda Keenan from 1914-1937 plus they had one young child collectively. He was wedded to Frieda Mierse from 1937-1939. From 1946-1955, he was wedded to Dorothy Nesbitt. As a kid, he was an on-stage associate for W.C. Areas.

Quick Facts


Full Name Ed Wynn
Date Of Birth November 9, 1886
Died June 19, 1966, Beverly Hills, California, United States
Place Of Birth Philadelphia, PA
Height 1.82 m
Profession Comedian
Education Central High School
Nationality American
Spouse Dorothy Elizabeth Nesbitt, Frieda Mierse, Hilda Keenan
Children Keenan Wynn
Parents Minnie Leopold, Joseph Leopold
Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Live Personality
Nominations Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role, Primetime Emmy Award for Best Supporting Performance By An Actor, Primetime Emmy Award for Actor - Best Single Performance - Lead or Support
Movies Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, The Diary of Anne Frank, Babes in Toyland, The Absent-Minded Professor, Cinderfella, Son of Flubber, The Gnome-Mobile, That Darn Cat!, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Great Man, Marjorie Morningstar, Those Calloways, Dear Brigitte, The Daydreamer, Follow the Leader, Hollywood on Parade, Rubber Heels, The Chief, Miracle on 34th Street, The Three Stooges 75th Anniversary Edition: Tales from the Three Stooges Vol. 1, Requiem for a Heavyweight
TV Shows The Ed Wynn Show, Four Star Revue, Mary Poppins
Star Sign Scorpio

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1Long-time star comedian in vaudeville who, at the urging of his actor son, Keenan Wynn, would late in life take up acting, both light and serious. He is especially remembered for his role in the Playhouse 90 (1956) television drama "Requiem for a Heavyweight" and in the film Mary Poppins (1964).
2The second opening show (#2.2 -B&W) telecast on 26 September 1964, for the ABC Television network variety-music series "The Hollywood Palace," Nick Vanoff and Bill Harbach scheduled Ed Wynn as the show's host. The variety show guest lineup included the following acts: comedian Jack Carter, singer Eydie Gormé, singing group Les Revue Parisienne, singer and dancer Zizi Jeanmaire, choreographed by Roland Petit, the French tight rope aerialist "Lenon," Austrailian comic juggler Rob Murray, the tap dance team known as The Nicholas Brothers - Fayard and Harold, and the Rolling Stones. As the show's concluding act, Ed Wynn performed, on his bicycle driven baby upright piano, one of Wynn's most famous vaudeville routines. The Nicholas Brothers had been featured in the MGM classic Judy Garland and Gene Kelly musical feature film "The Pirate." Upon completion of the film's release, the Nicholas Brothers had moved to Europe. Their appearance on this episode was the first television appearance of Fayard and Harold upon returning to the States.
3Book: Interviewed in "The Great Comedians Talk About Comedy" by Larry Wilde. [1968]
4Ed teamed up with son Keenan Wynn for a second time--the first was in The Absent Minded Professor (1961)--in Son of Flubber (1963).
5He was awarded three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame--for Motion Pictures at 1541 Vine Street, for Radio at 6333 Hollywood Boulevard, and for Television at 6426 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
6The voice of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Wally Gator is probably the nearest to an exact impersonation of Wynn's "Perfect Fool" character.
7Worked as an on-stage assistant to W.C. Fields as a youth. The story has it that Fields caught Wynn "mugging" for the audience during his "Pool Room" routine and knocked him unconscious with his pool cue. In later years he and Fields, both Ziegfeld stars at the time, sparked a well-publicized feud but eventually made up.
8Eventually he took his middle name of Edwin and adapted it into his stage moniker, "Ed Wynn," in order to save his European immigrant parents the embarrassment of having a low-style burlesque comedian as a relative. Running away from home at age 15, he first worked as a utility boy and eventual actor for a traveling stage company. The adventure was short-lived and he returned home to sell women's hats at his father's retail store until leaving again in five months.
9Wynn reluctantly began a career as a dramatic actor in television and movies, prompted by son Keenan instead of retiring. The two appeared in the classic broadcast of Rod Serling's play Playhouse 90: Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956). Ed was initially terrified of "straight" acting and kept flubbing his lines in rehearsal and was nearly fired. His quick ad-libs saved his performance, which is now considered one of his best dramatic roles ever.
10The epitaph on his grave stone at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California reads: "Dear God, Thank You".
11Organized an actors' strike in 1919, and was boycotted by the Shuberts as a result. He got around the boycott by writing and producing his own musical shows, which were both critical and popular successes.
12At the end of the '30s, several of his business ventures collapsed, including a radio chain, and he suffered a severe nervous breakdown.
13Once part of a two-year vaudeville duo with Jack Lewis, calling themselves "Win and Lose.".
14Attended Central High in Philadelphia before running away from home to join the Thurber-Nasher Repertoire Company.
15Some of his more famous on-stage props: an 11-foot pole for people he wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole; a windshield wiper to be served with grapefruit; a typewriter carriage for eating corn on the cob; a cash drawer that closed before you could open it; a non-wrinkling nightgown; and a cuckoo-clock fiddle.
16Opened the opening night of the Palace in 1913.
17Received the Disney award "The Mouscar" during the wrap party of Babes in Toyland (1961).
18Suffered from Parkinson's Disease in his later years.
19Directed many plays and musicals before becoming an actor.
20Was originally offered the title role in The Wizard of Oz (1939) but turned the part down, believing it was "way too small".
21Grandfather of Ned Wynn and Tracy Keenan Wynn
22Interred along with son Keenan Wynn at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Glendale, CA, in the Great Mausoleum, Holly entrance, Daffodil Corridor. The epitaph on his niche reads: "Dear God, Thank You.".
23Provided both the physical likeness and the off-screen voice of the Mad Hatter in Disney's animated Alice in Wonderland (1951).


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Gnome-Mobile1967Rufus
Vacation Playhouse1967TV SeriesProfessor Hubert Abernathy
The Daydreamer1966The Emperor (voice)
The Red Skelton Hour1961-1966TV SeriesMuggsy / Colonel Jungle-Rot Freeloader / Guest Host / ...
That Darn Cat!1965Mr. Hofstedder
The Greatest Story Ever Told1965Old Aram
Bonanza1965TV SeriesProfessor Phineas T. Klump
Those Calloways1965Ed Parker
Dear Brigitte1965The Captain
Slattery's People1964TV SeriesEzra Tallicott
Mary Poppins1964Uncle Albert
The Patsy1964Ed Wynn
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color1964TV SeriesAlfred
Burke's Law1964TV SeriesZachary Belden
The Twilight Zone1959-1963TV SeriesSam Forstmann / Lou Bookman
77 Sunset Strip1963TV SeriesFeigenstein
Son of Flubber1963A.J. Allen
General Electric Theater1959-1962TV SeriesMax Grossblatt / Professor Franz
Rawhide1961TV SeriesBateman
Babes in Toyland1961Toymaker
The Absent Minded Professor1961Fire Chief
Cinderfella1960Fairy Godfather
Startime1960TV SeriesAmos Benedict
Miracle on 34th Street1959TV MovieKris Kringle
Wagon Train1959TV SeriesCappy Darrin
Meet Me in St. Louis1959TV MovieGrandpa
The Diary of Anne Frank1959Mr. Albert Dussell
The Ed Wynn Show1958TV SeriesJohn Beamer
Marjorie Morningstar1958Uncle Samson
Shower of Stars1954-1958TV Series
On Borrowed Time1957TV Movie'Gramps' Northrup
The Alcoa Hour1957TV SeriesBilly Bishop
The 20th Century-Fox Hour1957TV SeriesJohn Hodges
The Great Man1956Paul Beaseley
Playhouse 901956TV SeriesArmy
Alice in Wonderland1951Mad Hatter (voice)
Camel Comedy Caravan1950TV SeriesHost
Stage Door Canteen1943Ed Wynn
Wash Your Step1936ShortVoice of Chief on Radio (voice, uncredited)
The Chief1933Henry Summers aka The Perfect Fool
Turn Back the Clock1933Cigar Store Customer (uncredited)
Follow the Leader1930Crickets
Rubber Heels1927Homer Thrush

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Some Jerk with a Camera2012TV Series documentary performer - 1 episode
The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story2009Documentary performer: "I Love To Laugh"
The Music of Disney: A Legacy in Song1992Video documentary performer: "The Unbirthday Song"
Mary Poppins1964performer: "I Love to Laugh" - uncredited
The Twilight Zone1963TV Series performer - 1 episode
Babes in Toyland1961performer: "Workshop Song"
Cinderfella1960performer: "Let Me Be a People Plain Old Me"
Alice in Wonderland1951performer: "A Very Merry Un-birthday The Un-birthday Song" 1951, "A Very Merry Unbirthday Reprise" 1951 - uncredited
The Chief1933music: "Rock-a-Bye Baby" 1886 - uncredited / performer: "Rock-a-Bye Baby" 1886 - uncredited

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Alice in Wonderland1951live action model: Mad Hatter - uncredited

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Edición Especial Coleccionista2014TV Series in memory of - 1 episode

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Jack Paar Tonight Show1962TV SeriesHimself
The Tonight Show1962TV SeriesHimself - Comic Actor
The Garry Moore Show1959-1962TV SeriesHimself
The New March of Dimes Presents: The Scene Stealers1962TV SpecialHimself
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse1960TV SeriesHimself
The 32nd Annual Academy Awards1960TV SpecialHimself - Nominee: Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Startime1959TV SeriesHimself
The Ed Sullivan Show1953-1959TV SeriesHimself
The Milton Berle Show1959TV SeriesHimself
The Steve Allen Plymouth Show1957-1958TV SeriesHimself
December Bride1958TV SeriesHimself
The Dinah Shore Chevy Show1958TV SeriesHimself
Shower of Stars1957-1958TV SeriesHimself
Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall1957TV SeriesHimself
Screen Snapshots 1856: The Mocambo Party1957ShortHimself
The Kate Smith Show1957TV SeriesHimself
The George Gobel Show1955TV SeriesHimself
The Red Skelton Hour1955TV SeriesHimself
Red Skelton Revue1954TV SeriesHimself - Comic
What's My Line?1954TV SeriesHimself
This Is Your Life1953TV SeriesNed Wynn
All Star Revue1950-1952TV SeriesHimself - Host / Himself
The Colgate Comedy Hour1950-1951TV SeriesHimself
The Kate Smith Evening Hour1951TV SeriesHimself
Ford Star Revue1951TV SeriesHimself - Comedian
Operation Wonderland1951Documentary shortHimself
The Ed Wynn Show1949-1950TV SeriesHimself - Host
The Saturday Night Revue with Jack Carter1950TV SeriesHimself
Screen Snapshots Series 27, No. 3: Out of This World Series1947ShortHimself
NBC/RCA Experimental Television Demonstration for the Press1936TV MovieHimself
First Television Broadcast NBC/RCA1936Documentary shortHimself
Shindig!1965TV SeriesHimself - Guest Host
The Hollywood Palace1964-1965TV SeriesHimself / Himself - Host
The Hollywood Deb Stars of 19651965TV MovieHimself
The Entertainers1964TV SeriesHimself
The Sound of Laughter1963DocumentaryCollege Professor (Master of Ceremonies)
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1963TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color1961-1962TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Hey Moe, Hey Dad!2015TV Series documentaryHimself
America's Clown: An Intimate Biography of Red Skelton2014VideoHimself
2nd Indie Fest of YouTube Videos 20142014TV MovieHimself
Edición Especial Coleccionista2014TV SeriesUncle Albert
To Oz! The Making of a Classic2009Video documentary shortHimself
The Age of Believing: The Disney Live Action Classics2008TV Movie documentary
Shemp Cocktail: A Toast to the Original Stooge2008Video documentaryHimself
20th Century-Fox: The First 50 Years1997TV Movie documentaryActor 'Diary of Anne Frank' (uncredited)
American Masters1995TV Series documentary
Pioneers of Primetime1995TV Movie documentaryHimself
Biography1994TV Series documentaryVarious
The Music of Disney: A Legacy in Song1992Video documentaryThe Mad Hatter
Disney Sing-Along-Songs: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious1990VideoUncle Albert
The Three Stooges 60th Anniversary Special1990TV Movie documentary
5th Annual TV Academy Hall of Fame1989TV SpecialHimself
Muppet Babies1988TV Series
Classic Comedy Teams1986Video documentaryHimself - Three Stooges segment
Disney Sing-Along-Songs: Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah1986Video shortMad Hatter
Stooge Snapshots1984TV Movie documentaryHimself
The MGM Three Stooges Festival1983Himself
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color1954-1980TV SeriesEd Parker / Fire Chief / Rufus / ...
Bob Hope's World of Comedy1976TV MovieTribute Montage
That's Entertainment, Part II1976DocumentaryClip from 'The Chief' (uncredited)
Hooray for Hollywood1975DocumentaryHimself
Texaco Presents: A Quarter Century of Bob Hope on Television1975TV SpecialHimself
The Hollywood Palace1970TV SeriesHimself
The Judy Garland Show1964TV SeriesHimself
Hollywood and the Stars1963TV SeriesHimself
The Ed Sullivan Show1958TV SeriesHimself

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 1541 Vine Street.
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameTelevisionOn 8 February 1960. At 6426 Hollywood Blvd.
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameRadioOn 8 February 1960. At 6333 Hollywood Blvd.
1950Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsMost Outstanding Live Personality

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1961Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading RoleWestinghouse Desilu Playhouse (1958)
1960OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actor in a Supporting RoleThe Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
1958Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest Supporting ActorThe Great Man (1956)
1958Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsActor - Best Single Performance - Lead or SupportOn Borrowed Time (1957)
1958BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsBest Foreign ActorThe Great Man (1956)
1957Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsBest Supporting Performance by an ActorPlayhouse 90 (1956)


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#Quote
1[on performing in radio] If I go on the air I've got to have an audience. If I am to get 'raspberries' I want them immediately and not three weeks later, in the mail from Sioux City.
2I can't give you a definition [of humor]. It is too subtle to be pinned down. I can say that it differs from wit, which exaggerates the truth, while humor presents the truth in an original way.
3I'll be back in a flash with more trash. - his famous exit line
4Wasn't it Whistler who said that a great painter was one who could hide the effort which he put into his work? The same thing goes for gags. It often takes hours to think up something that is said in seconds.
5A comedian says funny things. A comic says things funny.

#Trademark
1Unique whimsical voice
2Disney movies

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