42 Facts About George Burns


George Burns's arched eyebrow and cigar-smoke punctuation became familiar trademarks for over three-quarters of a century.


At the age of 79, Burns experienced a sudden career revival as an amiable, beloved and unusually active comedy elder statesman in the 1975 film The Sunshine Boys, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.


George Burns was only a Tony Award shy of being one of the few EGOT award recipients in the American entertainment industry, winning an Emmy, a Grammy, and an Oscar.


George Burns became a centenarian in 1996, continuing to work until just weeks before his death of cardiac arrest at his home in Beverly Hills, shortly after his hundredth birthday.


George Burns was born Nathan Birnbaum on January 20,1896, in New York City, the ninth of 12 children born to Hadassah "Dorah" and Eliezer Birnbaum, known as Louis or Lippa, Jewish immigrants who had come to the United States from Ropczyce, Galicia, now Poland.


George Burns's father was a substitute cantor at the local synagogue but usually worked as a coat presser.


George Burns, called Nattie or Nate at the time, went to work to help support the family, shining shoes, running errands and selling newspapers.


When he got a job as a syrup maker in a local candy shop at age seven, George Burns was "discovered", as he recalled long after:.


George Burns came down to the basement once to deliver a letter and heard the four of us kids singing harmony.


George Burns liked our style, so we sang a couple more songs for him.


George Burns was drafted into the United States Army when the US entered World War I in 1917, but he failed the physical examination because he was extremely nearsighted.


George Burns later claimed that he selected the name of George Burns because there were two active star professional baseball players with the name, each of whom would accumulate more than 2,000 hits and hold some major-league records.


George Burns normally partnered with a girl, sometimes in an adagio dance routine, sometimes in comic patter.


George Burns attempted to continue the show, but without Allen to provide the classic Gracie-isms, the show expired after a year.


George Burns acted primarily as the narrator, and secondarily as the adviser to Stevens' Gracie-like character.


The first episode involved the nearly 69-year-old George Burns watching his younger neighbor's activities with amusement, just as he would watch the George Burns and Allen television show while it was unfolding to get a jump on what Gracie was up to in its final two seasons.


Again as in the Burns and Allen television show, George frequently broke the fourth wall by commenting directly to viewers.


George Burns performed a series of solo concerts, playing university campuses, New York's Philharmonic Hall and winding up a successful season at Carnegie Hall, where he wowed a capacity audience with his show-stopping songs, dances, and jokes.


Benny's health had begun to fail and he advised his manager Irving Fein to let longtime friend George Burns fill in for him on a series of nightclub dates to which Benny had committed around the US.


George Burns, who enjoyed working, accepted the job for what would be his first feature film appearance for 36 years.


George Burns, heartbroken, said that the only time he ever wept in his life other than Gracie's death was when Benny died.


People who knew George Burns said that he never could really come to terms with his beloved friend's death.


Six weeks before filming started, George Burns had triple bypass surgery.


George Burns replaced Benny in the film as well as the club tour, a move that turned out to be one of the biggest breaks of his career; his wise performance as faded vaudevillian Al Lewis won him the 1975 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and permanently secured his career resurgence.


At the age of 80, George Burns was the oldest Oscar winner in the history of the Academy Awards, a record that would remain until Jessica Tandy won an Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy in 1989.


At a celebrity roast in his honor, Dean Martin adapted a Burns crack: "When George was growing up, the Top 10 were the Ten Commandments".


George Burns appeared in this character along with Vanessa Williams on the September 1984 cover of Penthouse magazine, the issue which contained the notorious nude photos of Williams, as well as the first appearance of underage pornographic film star Traci Lords.


In 1979, at the age of 83, George Burns starred in two feature films, Just You and Me, Kid and Going in Style.


George Burns remained active in films and TV past his 90th birthday.


George Burns did regular nightclub stand-up acts in his later years, usually portraying himself as a lecherous old man.


George Burns always smoked a cigar onstage and reputedly timed his monologues by the amount the cigar had burned down.


Arthur Marx estimated that George Burns smoked around 300,000 cigars during his lifetime, starting at the age of 14.


George Burns served as honorary chairman of the Center's endowment drive.


George Burns remained in good health for most of his life, in part thanks to a daily exercise regimen of swimming, walks, sit-ups, and push-ups.


George Burns bought new Cadillacs every year and drove until the age of 93.


When George Burns was 96, he had signed a lifetime contract with Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to perform stand-up comedy there, which included the guarantee of a show on his centenary, January 20,1996.


On March 9,1996,49 days after his centenary, George Burns died in his Beverly Hills home.


George Burns's funeral was held three days later at the Wee Kirk o' the Heather church in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Glendale.


George Burns had always said that he wanted Gracie to have top billing.


George Burns has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: a motion pictures star at 1639 Vine Street, a television star at 6510 Hollywood Boulevard, and a live performance star at 6672 Hollywood Boulevard.


George Burns is a member of the Television Hall of Fame, where he and Gracie Allen were both inducted in 1988.


George Burns is the subject of Rupert Holmes's one-actor play Say Goodnight, Gracie.