At the end of the '30s, several of his business ventures collapsed, including a radio chain, and he suffered a severe nervous breakdown.
Attended Central High in Philadelphia before running away from home to join the Thurber-Nasher Repertoire Company.
Directed many plays and musicals before becoming an actor.
Ed teamed up with son Keenan Wynn again, this time in the sequel Son of Fluuber. Flubber.
Eventually he took his middle name of Edwin and adapted it into his stage moniker, "Ed Wynn," in order to save his European immigrant parents the embarrassment of having a low-style burlesque comedian as a relative. Running away from home at age 15, he first worked as a utility boy and eventual actor for a traveling stage company. The adventure was short-lived and he returned home to sell women's hats at his father's retail store until leaving again in five months.
Father of actor Keenan Wynn, with whom he appeared in Disney's 'The Absent Minded Professor' (1961). (The two had also appeared in the previously cited "Requiem".)
Hanna-Barbera's Wally Gator's voice is probably the nearest to an exact impersonation of Wynn's "Perfect Fool" character.
He was awarded 3 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 1541 Vine Street, for Radio at 6333 Hollywood Boulevard, and for Television at 6426 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Interred along with his son Keenan Wynn at Forest Lawn, Glendale, CA., in the Great Mausoleum, Holly entrance, Daffodil Corridor. The epitaph on his niche reads: "Dear God, Thank You."
Once part of a two-year vaudeville duo with Jack Lewis, calling themselves "Win and Lose.".
Opened the opening night of the Palace in 1913.
Organized an actors' strike in 1919, and was boycotted by the Shuberts as a result. He got around the boycott by writing and producing his own musical shows, which were both critical and popular successes.
Provided both the physical likeness and the off-screen voice of the Mad Hatter in Disney's animated 'Alice in Wonderland' (1951).
Received the Disney award "the Mouscar" during the wrap party of "Babes in Toyland".
Some of his more famous on-stage props: an 11-foot pole for people he wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole; a windshield wiper to be served with grapefruit; a typewriter carriage for eating corn on the cob; a cash drawer that closed before you could open it; a non-wrinkling nightgown; and a cuckoo-clock fiddle.
Suffered from Parkinson's Disease in his later years.
The epitaph on his grave stone at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California reads: "Dear God, Thank You".
Worked as an on-stage assistant to W.C. Fields as a youth. The story has it that Fields caught Wynn "mugging" for the audience during his "Pool Room" routine and knocked him unconscious with his pool cue. In later years he and Fields, both Ziegfeld stars at the time, sparked a well-publicized feud but eventually made up.
Wynn reluctantly began a career as a dramatic actor in television and movies, prompted by son Keenan instead of retiring. The two appeared in the classic broadcast of Rod Serling's play "Playhouse 90: Requiem for a Heavyweight (#1.2)" (1956). Ed was initially terrified of "straight" acting and kept flubbing his lines in rehearsal and was nearly fired. His quick ad-libs saved his performance, which is now considered one of his best dramatic roles ever.