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Eddie Albert Biography


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Birth Name: Eddie Albert
Born: 04/22/1906
Birth Place: Rock Island, Illinois, USA
Death Place: Pacific Palisades, California, USA
Died: 05/26/2005


Raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Albert began his career as a singer and stage manager in local theater. By the mid-1930s, he had toured the USA with the singing group Threesome and had begun to work on radio. "O Evening Star" (1935-36) marked his Broadway debut and in 1936 he had a co-starring role in "Brother Rat", the role which brought him to Hollywood. Throughout his career, he would venture back to the stage with memorable turns in Rodgers and Hart's "The Boys from Syracuse" (1938), Irving Berlin's ill-fated "Miss Liberty" (1949), Harold Hill in "The Music Man" (1960) and an all-star revival of "You Can't Take It With You" (1983).

Once in Hollywood, Albert quickly became established as a stalwart character player. He reprised his turn as Bing Edwards in the sequel "Brother Rat and a Baby" (1940). Despite solid work throughout the 40s, it wasn't until the 50s that Albert began to garner breakout roles. He was a traveling salesman who encounters Jennifer Jones' "Carrie" (1952) and had one of his most memorable roles as a photographer who snaps a shot of a runaway princess in William Wyler's "Roman Holiday" (1953), a role that earned him his first Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. Other memorable roles included the reformed alcoholic in "I'll Cry Tomorrow" and the itinerant peddler in love with Ado Annie (Gloria Grahame) in "Oklahoma!" (both 1955), the psychiatrist in "The Teahouse of the August Moon" (1956) and the psychologically fragile army colonel haunted by the deaths of his men in "Captain Newman, M.D." (1963). Albert earned a second Best Supporting Oscar nomination as Cybill Shepherd's cool, WASP father who wants to keep her away from the Jewish Charles Grodin in Elaine May's "The Heartbreak Kid" (1972). While Albert continued to appear in features into the 1980s, few of his later roles were memorable, with the exception of his turn as the prison warden blackmailing inmate Burt Reynolds in "The Longest Yard" (1974).

The small screen has also proven hospitable to the actor's wide-ranging talents. A former circus performer, Albert broke into the medium appearing in numerous live broadcasts during the so-called "Golden Age of Television". He landed his first series berth as a man working for his father-in-law (Ed Begley) in the short-lived "Leave It to Larry" (CBS, 1952). The following year, Albert hosted the NBC variety series "Nothing But the Best" and later handled hosting chores on the CBS game show "On Your Account" (1954-56). Perhaps his best-remembered role, however, was on "Green Acres" (CBS, 1965-71), as Oliver Douglas, the Manhattan attorney who, with his socialite wife (Eva Gabor), leaves the city behind to become a farmer. (During the sitcom's first season, Albert also made appearances on another CBS sitcom "Petticoat Junction" which was set in the same fictional town of Hooterville.) Although CBS dumped "Green Acres" in 1971 when it was clearing house of series with rural appeal, some TV historians now consider the show to have been an astute, if somewhat low content, social satire. Albert returned to the weekly format as Robert Wagner's con-man father on "Switch" (CBS, 1975-78) (CBS).

The actor has remained a staple on the small screen as a guest actor and in longforms well into the 90s. He made his TV-movie debut in "See the Man Run" (ABC, 1971) and later starred in the 1973 NBC production of "The Borrowers", based on the children's classic about a family of tiny people living in the cracks and crevasses of a home. Other memorable roles have included as the aged statesman in "Benjamin Franklin: The Ambassador" (CBS, 1974), a plantation owner in "Beulah Land" (NBC, 1980) and the unscrupulous judge in "Dress Grey" (NBC, 1984). In 1989, Albert made the first of several appearances as Timothy Busfield's father on "thirtysomething" (ABC) and was a media mogul in the small screen remake of "The Barefoot Executive" (ABC, 1995).