George Burns

George Burns

"The Burns & Allen Show" (on CBS and NBC from 1934 to 1950) was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1994.

According to Phyllis Diller's autobiography "Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse", in the late 1960s Broadway producer David Merrick approached Burns with the idea of him playing Horace Vandergelder in "Hello, Dolly!" with his good friend Jack Benny in drag as Dolly Levi. The intention was to turn Broadway on its ear and revive flagging interest in the show, which had been running since 1964, originally with Carol Channing as Dolly Levi. This idea never came to fruition. (Diller did appear in the show for 3 months in 1970.).

Actually wore a hairpiece for most of his performing career; appears briefly without it in The Sunshine Boys (1975/I).

Although Gracie Allen was in love with another man when they first met, he carried a ring in his pocket until she finally agreed to marry him.

As a child, he attended P.S. 22 and left after the fourth grade due to economic reasons.

At the time of his Oscar win, he was the oldest recipient of an Oscar. He was 80 when he won the 1976 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for The Sunshine Boys (1975/I). This record was surpassed by Jessica Tandy in 1990. However, as of 2007 he still is the oldest recipient of an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Best friends with fellow comedian Jack Benny, who also served as best man at his and Gracie Allen's wedding. Burns loved playing jokes on Benny, almost as much as watching him laugh (and pound the floor) afterward.

Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 82-84. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 78-80. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387

Brother of William Burns.

Daughter Sandra Burns adopted 1934, son Ronnie Burns adopted 1935.

Discovered Ann-Margret and made her his opening act in Las Vegas.

He and Gracie Allen continued to play single, even years after they were married; declining ratings prompted George to "update" the act on-air. He said later, "We were the only couple on radio who got married because we had to".

He was awarded 3 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Live Theatre at 6672 Hollywood Boulevard; for Motion Pictures at 1639 Vine Street; and for Television at 6510 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

He was in very fragile health and could not attend his 100th birthday celebration in person.

His first marriage was in name only. In the early 1920s he was doing a ballroom dancing act with Hannah Siegal, and they were offered a 36-week contract to go out on the road. When her dad objected to her traveling with a young man outside the bonds of matrimony, George and Hannah got married so as not to turn down the offer. When they returned from their three-month engagement, they divorced.

In the beginning of their partnership, Gracie Allen played the straight character and Burns had the funny lines. When he realized Gracie got more laughs, he switched their roles.

In the early 1940s, during the height of their popularity, Burns had a brief extra-marital affair. He apologized to Gracie Allen by giving her a new coffee table, and nothing more was said about it. However, years later, when Gracie was serving coffee to a friend in their living room, George overheard her say, "You know, I wish George would have another affair. I really need a new coffee table".

In the movie 18 Again! (1988) Burns' character celebrates his 81st birthday, although Burns himself was already 92 years old.

Interred along with his wife Gracie Allen at Forest Lawn (Glendale), Glendale, California, USA, in the Freedom Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Heritage.