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|Also Known As:||Herbert John Gleason,Jackie C. Gleason||Died:||June 24, 1987|
|Born:||February 26, 1916||Cause of Death:||colon cancer|
|Birth Place:||Brooklyn, New York, USA||Profession:||Cast ... comedian actor composer conductor carnival barker arranger vaudevillian|
Dubbed "The Great One" by none other than Orson Welles and beloved as one of the biggest stars of television's golden era, multi-talented comedic actor Jackie Gleason enjoyed a life and career as robust as his onscreen persona. After gaining recognition as a performer in the nightclubs of New York and on the stages of Broadway - interrupted by a brief, unsatisfying stint in Hollywood - Gleason took on the new medium of television as the star of "Cavalcade of Stars" (DuMont, 1949-1952). There, he introduced several of his famous long-running characters, including Reginald Van Gleason III, The Poor Soul, and Joe the Bartender. But it was another character, New York bus driver Ralph Kramden, that led to the creation of "The Honeymooners" (CBS, 1955-56), considered one of the greatest programs in the history of television. Often underappreciated for his substantial dramatic talent, Gleason was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in "The Hustler" (1961) and earned high marks for his turn in "Requiem for a Heavyweight" (1962). A decade and a half later, he attracted scores of new fans as the caustic Sheriff Buford T. Justice in the Burt Reynolds hit "Smokey and the Bandit" (1977). More film work and the occasional "Honeymooners" revival occupied Gleason's later years, although he never abandoned his favorite pastimes - golf, food and alcohol - even as his health declined. A revered entertainer to generations of fans, Gleason's famous tagline of "How sweet it is!" reflected both his body of work and his thirst for life.
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