71 Facts About Jackie Gleason


John Herbert Gleason was an American actor, comedian, writer, and composer known affectionately as "The Great One".


Jackie Gleason developed a style and characters from growing up in Brooklyn, New York and was known for his brash visual and verbal comedy, exemplified by his city bus driver character Ralph Kramden in the television series The Honeymooners.


Jackie Gleason developed The Jackie Gleason Show, which maintained high ratings from the mid-1950s through 1970.


The series originated in New York City, but videotaping moved to Miami Beach, Florida in 1964 after Jackie Gleason took up permanent residence there.


Jackie Gleason enjoyed a prominent secondary music career during the 1950s and 1960s, producing a series of best-selling "mood music" albums.


Jackie Gleason's parents were Herbert Walton "Herb" Gleason, born in New York City, and Mae Agnes "Maisie".


Jackie Gleason used to watch his father work at the family's kitchen table, writing insurance policies in the evenings.


Jackie Gleason became interested in performing after being part of a class play; he quit school before graduating and got a job that paid $4per night as master of ceremonies at a theater.


Jackie Gleason performed the same duties twice a week at the Folly Theater.


Gleason was 19 when his mother died in 1935 of sepsis from a large neck carbuncle that young Jackie had tried to lance.


Jackie Gleason had nowhere to go, and thirty-six cents to his name.


The family of his first girlfriend, Julie Dennehy, offered to take him in; Jackie Gleason was headstrong and insisted that he was going into the heart of the city.


Jackie Gleason worked his way up to a job at New York's Club 18, where insulting its patrons was the order of the day.


When Jackie Gleason reported to his induction, doctors discovered that his broken left arm had healed crooked, that a pilonidal cyst existed at the end of his coccyx, and that he was 100 pounds overweight.


Jackie Gleason was therefore classified 4-F and rejected for military service.


Jackie Gleason did not make a strong impression on Hollywood at first; at the time, he developed a nightclub act that included comedy and music.


Jackie Gleason became known for hosting all-night parties in his hotel suite; the hotel soundproofed his suite out of consideration for its other guests.


Jackie Gleason was working at Slapsy Maxie's when he was hired to host DuMont's Cavalcade of Stars variety hour in 1950, having been recommended by comedy writer Harry Crane, whom he knew from his days as a stand-up comedian in New York.


The program initially had rotating hosts; Jackie Gleason was first offered two weeks at $750 per week.


Jackie Gleason framed the acts with splashy dance numbers, developed sketch characters he would refine over the next decade, and became enough of a presence that CBS wooed him to its network in 1952.


The Honeymooners originated from a sketch Jackie Gleason was developing with his show's writers.


Jackie Gleason said he had an idea he wanted to enlarge: a skit with a smart, quiet wife and her very vocal husband.


Jackie Gleason went on to describe that, while the couple had their fights, underneath it all they loved each other.


When Jackie Gleason moved to CBS, Kelton was left behind; her name had been published in Red Channels, a book that listed and described reputed communists in television and radio, and the network did not want to hire her.


Jackie Gleason reluctantly let her leave the cast, with a cover story for the media that she had "heart trouble".


Comedy writer Leonard Stern always felt The Honeymooners was more than sketch material and persuaded Jackie Gleason to make it into a full-hour-long episode.


In 1955, Jackie Gleason gambled on making it a separate series entirely.


In 1959, Jackie Gleason discussed the possibility of bringing back The Honeymooners in new episodes.


Jackie Gleason's dream was partially realized with a Kramden-Norton sketch on a CBS variety show in late 1960 and two more sketches on his new hour-long CBS show The American Scene Magazine in 1962.


Jackie Gleason believed there was a ready market for romantic instrumentals.


Jackie Gleason's goal was to make "musical wallpaper that should never be intrusive, but conducive".


Jackie Gleason recalled seeing Clark Gable play love scenes in movies; the romance was, in his words, "magnified a thousand percent" by background music.


At one point, Jackie Gleason held the record for charting the most number-one albums on the Billboard 200 without charting any hits on the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.


In spite of period accounts establishing his direct involvement in musical production, varying opinions have appeared over the years as to how much credit Jackie Gleason should have received for the finished products.


Jackie Gleason knows a lot more about music than people give him credit for.


In 1956 Jackie Gleason revived his original variety hour, winning a Peabody Award.


Jackie Gleason abandoned the show in 1957 when his ratings for the season came in at No 29 and the network "suggested" he needed a break.


Jackie Gleason returned in 1958 with a half-hour show featuring Buddy Hackett, which did not catch on.


In 1962, Jackie Gleason resurrected his variety show with more splashiness and a new hook: a fictitious general-interest magazine called The American Scene Magazine, through which Jackie Gleason trotted out his old characters in new scenarios, including two new Honeymooners sketches.


Each show began with Jackie Gleason delivering a monologue and commenting on the attention-getting outfits of band leader Sammy Spear.


Occasionally Jackie Gleason would devote the show to musicals with a single theme, such as college comedy or political satire, with the stars abandoning their Honeymooners roles for different character roles.


Jackie Gleason wanted The Honeymooners to be just a portion of his format, but CBS wanted another season of only The Honeymooners.


Jackie Gleason simply stopped doing the show in 1970 and left CBS when his contract expired.


Gleason did two Jackie Gleason Show specials for CBS after giving up his regular show in the 1970s, including Honeymooners segments and a Reginald Van Gleason III sketch in which the gregarious millionaire was portrayed as a comic drunk.


Jackie Gleason later did a series of Honeymooners specials for ABC.


In 1985, three decades after the "Classic 39" began filming, Jackie Gleason revealed he had carefully preserved kinescopes of his live 1950s programs in a vault for future use.


Jackie Gleason had earned acclaim for live television drama performances in "The Laugh Maker" on CBS's Studio One and William Saroyan's "The Time of Your Life", which was produced as an episode of the anthology series Playhouse 90.


Jackie Gleason was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of pool shark Minnesota Fats in The Hustler, starring Paul Newman.


Jackie Gleason was extremely well-received as a beleaguered boxing manager in the film version of Rod Serling's Requiem for a Heavyweight.


Jackie Gleason played a world-weary army sergeant in Soldier in the Rain, in which he received top billing over Steve McQueen.


Jackie Gleason wrote, produced and starred in Gigot, in which he played a poor, mute janitor who befriended and rescued a prostitute and her small daughter.


Jackie Gleason played the lead in the Otto Preminger-directed Skidoo, considered an all-star failure.


Jackie Gleason co-starred with Burt Reynolds as the Bandit, Sally Field as Carrie, and Jerry Reed as Cledus "Snowman" Snow, the Bandit's truck-driving partner.


Reynolds said that director Hal Needham gave Jackie Gleason free rein to ad-lib a great deal of his dialog and make suggestions for the film; the scene at the "Choke and Puke" was Jackie Gleason's idea.


Jackie Gleason gave a memorable performance as wealthy businessman US Bates in the comedy The Toy opposite Richard Pryor.


Jackie Gleason would fly back and forth to Los Angeles for relatively minor film work.


Jackie Gleason went into downtown Tulsa, walked into a hardware store, and asked its owner to lend him $200 for the train trip to New York.


Jackie Gleason proposed to buy two tickets to the film and take the store owner; he would be able to see the actor in action.


Jackie Gleason was greatly interested in the paranormal, reading many books on the topic, as well as books on parapsychology and UFOs.


Jackie Gleason met dancer Genevieve Halford when they were working in vaudeville, and they started to date.


Halford wanted to marry, but Jackie Gleason was not ready to settle down.


Jackie Gleason said she would see other men if they did not marry.


One evening when Jackie Gleason went onstage at the Club Miami in Newark, New Jersey, he saw Halford in the front row with a date.


Halford wanted a quiet home life but Jackie Gleason fell back into spending his nights out.


In early 1954, Jackie Gleason suffered a broken leg and ankle on-air during his television show.


Jackie Gleason met his second wife, Beverly McKittrick, at a country club in 1968, where she worked as a secretary.


Jackie Gleason had been out of show business for nearly 20 years.


In September 1974, Jackie Gleason filed for divorce from McKittrick.


Jackie Gleason was treated and released, but after suffering another bout the following week, he returned and underwent triple-bypass surgery.


Jackie Gleason delivered a critically acclaimed performance as an infirm, acerbic, and somewhat Archie Bunker-like character in the Tom Hanks comedy-drama Nothing in Common.


Jackie Gleason kept his medical problems private, although there were rumors that he was seriously ill.