All three of his sisters perished in Nazi concentration camps.
Because of his befuddled amiability on-screen, his trademark jowls and comical exasperation, he was nicknamed "Cuddles" and was often billed that way.
He originally turned down his waiter's role in "Casablanca", the part that initially made him famous.
Second wife was Ann Kardos, who was the sister of László Kardos. László's wife, Lenka, was the sister of director Joe Pasternak.
The initials preceding his name are from the Hungarian for Szoke Szakall, meaning 'blonde beard', so called because he wore one as a young actor to look older.