Jackie Gleason

Herbert Walton GleasonHerbert Walton Gleason, Jr. , baptized as John Herbert “Jackie” Gleason, (February 26, 1916–June 24, 1987) was an American comedian, actor and musician. He was known for his brash visual and verbal comedy style, especially by his character Ralph Kramden on the sitcom The Honeymooners. His most noted film role was Minnesota Fats in The Hustler.
He was chosen for an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Minnesota Fats in the 1961 Paul Newman movie The Hustler. He was also well-received as a beleaguered boxing manager in the movie version of Rod Serling’s Requiem for a Heavyweight. Gleason also played a world-weary Army sergeant, in Soldier in the Rain. He wrote, produced, and starred in his own film, Gigot, a notorious box office Jackie Gleasondisaster in 1962, in which he plays a poor, mute janitor who befriends and rescues a prostitute and her small daughter. The script for this film formed the basis for a 2004 made-for-television movie staring William H. Macy in the role of the mute janitor. The film, called “The Wool Cap” received modestly good reviews. Gleason played the lead in the Otto Preminger all-star flop, Skidoo. Three years later, William Friedkin wanted to cast Gleason as “Popeye” Doyle in The French Connection; but between Gigot and Skidoo, the studio refused to offer Gleason the lead in the film, even though he wanted to play it. Instead, that year, 1969, Gleason wound up in How to Commit Marriage with Bob Hope and the movie version of Woody Allen’s play Don’t Drink the Water, both flops.
Gleason restored his original variety hour, including The Honeymooners, in 1956, but abandoned the show in 1957. He returned in 1958 with a half-hour show that featured Buddy Hackett. However, this version of the Gleason show did not catch on.