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Milton Berle

Milton Berle

Milton Berle described a brief affair with Aimee Semple McPherson in 1930 in his 1975 autobiography titled, "Milton Berle: An Autobiography".

Adopted son, Bill, with Ruth Berle.

Always opened his show by making an entrance in a different costume each week.

Appeared for the first time on television in an experimental TV broadcast in 1929, and sometimes is credited with being the first person to appear on television, possibly because a film of the broadcast has survived. On April 7, 1927, an image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover was transmitted by AT&T in the first successful long distance demonstration of TV. Later that day, AT&T broadcast other material, including vaudeville comedian A. Dolan. WRNY (Coytesville, NJ) became the first standard radio station to transmit a television image, the face of Mrs. John Geloso, on Aug. 13, 1928 in a process resembling early Web "broadcasts," with a delay of a few seconds between image and voice, while on Aug. 22, 1928, WGY simultaneously broadcast Al Smith accepting the Democratic presidential nomination on radio and TV. "The Queen's Messenger" was the first play broadcast by television, on Sept. 11, 1928 by W2XAD, an event that made the front page of the NY Times. Thus, Berle cannot be considered the first "television performer" in history.

Appears on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp, issued 11 August 2009, in the Early TV Memories issue honoring "Texaco Star Theater" (titled "The Buick-Berle Show" (1948), 1954-1956).



Berle co-wrote, with Ben Oakland, the title song for the 1940 film Li'l Abner (1940).

Berle was famed in Hollywood for the alleged size of an "unmentionable" portion of his anatomy. An often recounted (and possibly apocryphal) story was that when he was once challenged to a "face-off" with another man to prove who had the larger one, a friend said, "We're in a hurry, Milton, just take out enough to win.".

Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald S. Smith, pg. 46-48. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387

Brother of Phil Berle.

Changed his name to Berle from Berlinger in 1920.

Credits his survival as a television icon with his 30 year contract with NBC (Groucho Marx once joked about this saying: "30 years with NBC? That's not a contract. That's a sentence!").

Father: Moses Berlinger

Godfather of musician Billy Sherwood.

Had a long-time joking rivalry with Bishop Fulton J. Sheen ("Uncle Fultie"), whose TV show was on opposite his for many years ("He stayed on longer than I did because, let's face it, he had better writers. Mark, Luke ...").

Has written three books over the years: Two volumes of autobiography, "Milton Berle" and "B.S.: I Love You," and "The Best Of Milton Berle's Private Joke File," a compendium of many of the 1000+ jokes he's been collecting over almost 80 years in show business.

He adopted a daughter, Victoria, in 1946.

He became a vegetarian in the early 1940s.

He died the same day as Dudley Moore and Billy Wilder.

He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6771 Hollywood Boulevard and for Television at 6263 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

His mother, Sarah Berlinger (later called Sandra Berle), was often shown on camera as she sat in the audience for "The Buick-Berle Show" (1948).

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