Birthday: November 16, 1907 Birth
Place: Cleveland, Ohio, USA Height: 5' 4"
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Originally a newspaper reporter, Burgess Meredith came to the screen in 1936, repeating his stage role in Winterset, a part written for him by Maxwell Anderson. Meredith has had a long and varied film career, playing everything from George in Of Mice and Men (1939) to Sylvester Stallone)'s trainer in Rocky (1976). He received Oscar nominations for The Day of the Locust (1975) and Rocky. As comfortable with comedy as with drama, Meredith also appeared in Idiot's Delight (1939); Second Chorus (1940), with Fred Astaire; Diary of a Chambermaid (1942), which he also wrote and produced; The Story of G.I. Joe (1945); and Mine Own Executioner (1947). He also directed Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949). On television, he made countless guest appearances in dozens of dramatic and variety productions, including one of the first episodes of The Twilight Zone, the touching Time Enough at Last, and as host on the first episode of Your Show of Shows. He was a regular on Mr. Novak (1963-64) and Search (1972-73), hosted Those Amazing Animals (1981), co-starred with Sally Struthers in Gloria (1982-83), and made classic appearances as the Penguin on Batman (1966-68). He won an Emmy in 1977 for Tailgunner Joe and has done voiceover work for innumerable commercials, notably Volkswagen. Meredith made his final feature film appearance playing crusty Grandpa Gustafson in Grumpier Old Men (1995), the sequel to Grumpy Old Men (1993) in which he also appeared. In 1996, he played a role in the CD-rom video game Ripper. He was briefly married to Paulette Goddard in the 1940s. Meredith died in his Malibu home at the age of 88 on September 9, 1997.
Served in the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II, reaching the rank of Captain.
Because of his very liberal political views, he collided with Senator Joseph McCarthy and was blacklisted from films in the late 1950s.
Otto Preminger was instrumental in restoring his film career.
His character "Penguin" was so popular a villain in the _"Batman" (1966/II)_ TV-series the producers always had a "Penguin" script ready in case Meredith would like to appear as a guest star.
Father of two (with fourth wife Kaja Sundsten): son Jonathon (musician) and daughter Tala (painter)
On the _"Batman" (1966/II)_ TV series, developed his grunting "Penguin" laugh out of necessity. Meredith had given up smoking some twenty-odd years earlier, but his character was required to smoke with a cigarette holder. The smoke would get caught in his throat and he would start coughing. Rather than constantly ruin takes in this matter, he developed the laugh to cover it up. "Actually, it was a pretty funny noise for a penguin to make," said Meredith. "I sounded more like a duck." Needless to say, Meredith gave up smoking again immediately after the series ended.
Suffered from melanoma and other ailments, including Alzheimer's disease, at the time of his death.
Was only seventeen years older then Jack Lemmon when he played his father in Grumpy Old Men (1993).
In 1960, received a Special Tony Award, along with James Thurber, for "A Thurber Carnival." He was also nominated for Broadway's 1974 Tony Award as Best Director (Dramatic) for "Ulysses in Nighttown."
Was the second choice for "The Penguin" role in _"Batman" (1966/II)_ . Producers had originally wanted Spencer Tracy in the role, but Tracy wouldn't sign unless his character was allowed to kill Batman. Obviously, they did not want to kill the main character, so the role went to Meredith.
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 406-407. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
He was fascinated by the subject of non-human intelligence, particularly dolphins. He once believed that a dolphin somehow called to him for help in the middle of the night while he was staying at a friend's home on the beach. He ran out and found the dolphin, caught in a net under a dock down the beach, although there was no way he should have been able to know it was there. He released it, saving its life. He believed it had made some sort of connection with him, perhaps telepathic, to call for help.
Was offered the part of The Penguin's father in Batman Returns (1992) (which eventually went to Paul Reubens), but couldn't film it because of his delicate health.
Once narrated a Gaelic Christmas Carol in English for The Chieftains on their "The Bells of Dublin" CD.
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