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Burgess Meredith

Burgess Meredith

Otto Preminger was instrumental in restoring his film career.

After dropping out of Amherst College, Meredith held down various jobs in journalism, retail, as a clerk, and as an editor. He also had a brief spell in the merchant marine and as a runner on Wall Street.

Because of his very liberal political views, he collided with Senator Joseph McCarthy and was blacklisted from films in the late 1950s. Meredith, one might say, got revenge on McCarthy by portraying Joseph Welch, the man who humiliated McCarthy on national television, in _'Tail Gunner Joe (1977) (TV)_'.

Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 406-407. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Despite his character dying in Rocky III (1982), he has appeared in every Rocky film, as either the real character, a flashback, or through archive footage.



Father of two (with fourth wife Kaja Sundsten): son Jonathon (musician) and daughter Tala (painter)

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.

His character, the Penguin, was so popular as a villain in the "Batman" (1966) TV-series the producers always had a Penguin script ready in case Meredith wanted to appear as a guest star.

His father was a doctor, and his mother a Methodist revivalist.

In 1960, received a special Tony Award, along with James Thurber, for A Thurber Carnival. He was also nominated for a 1974 Tony Award as best director (dramatic) for Ulysses in Nighttown.

Loved to cook and was a noted connoisseur of fine wine and good cuisine.

Nephew of comedian and character actor, Jay "Handsome Danny Mann" Burgess (1856-1937).

On the "Batman" (1966) 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.

Once narrated a Gaelic Christmas Carol in English for The Chieftains on their "The Bells of Dublin" CD.

Relied on cue cards during the filming of Grumpier Old Men (1995) , contributed from being in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

Served in the Army Air Corps during World War II and held the rank of captain by 1945.

Served in the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II, reaching the rank of Captain.

Suffered from melanoma and other ailments, including Alzheimer's disease, at the time of his death.

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.

Was only seventeen years older then Jack Lemmon when he played his father in Grumpy Old Men (1993).

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