Jackie Gleason

Jackie Gleason

"The Jackie Gleason Show" (1961) helped propel the tourist industry in Miami Beach in the early & mid 1960s.

Appears as Ralph Kramden, with Art Carney as Ed Norton, on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp in the Early TV Memories issue honoring "The Honeymooners" (1955). The stamp was issued 11 August 2009.

Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 328-331. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.

Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 180-183. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387

Buried in Miami. His grave site is all that one would expect. Engraved in the "riser" of the second step from the top is the classic, "AND AWAY WE GO".

Despite his iconic stature as a TV-comedy giant, Gleason never won an Emmy.

Did not like working with young children.

Eponym of the Jackie Gleason (formerly 5th Avenue) Bus Depot in Brooklyn, New York.

Father of actress Linda Miller.

Grandfather of actor Jason Patric.

Had an interest in the occult as well as an extensive collection of books on the paranormal.

Has a street named after him in Iowa City, Iowa.

He designed his own fantastic round house that was built in Peekskill, New York, in the 1950s and remains a modern marvel. The precious wood interior took special crafting by Swedish carpenters who were brought to the U.S. for a year to work on the house. It contained a basement disco and one of the very first in-home video projection systems. Despite the enormous cost, the Gleason dream house long suffered from a leaky wooden roof.

He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6231 Hollywood Boulevard and for Television at 6300 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

He was legendary for his dislike of rehearsal, even in the early days of live TV. Yet he was equally renowned for his total mastery and control over each production detail and insisted on the show credit: "Entire Production Supervised by Jackie Gleason."

He was not only a boxer and carnival barker in his early years, but also a pool hustler. Interestingly, he went on to play Minnesota Fats in The Hustler (1961) with Paul Newman.

His family background was, according to most accounts, almost Dickensian. It was marked by severe illness and grinding poverty, in any event. His father, Herb Gleason (1884-1964), was a henpecked insurance clerk who took his myriad disappointments in life out in drink. He deserted the family when Jackie was nine. His mother (d. 1935), the former Mae Kelly, was overprotective of her younger son, who died when Jackie was in his teens. An older brother, Clemence, died, probably of tuberculosis, at the age of fourteen, when Jackie was three.

In the 1930s, before he ever really made it even in smalltime venues, he was a bartender at a bar in Newark, New Jersey, called the Blue Mirror. He wore his apron high on the chest just like he did as his "Joe the Bartender" character 30 years later on his television show, and he entertained the patrons with his antics, just like "Joe the Bartender." Eventually, he got such a following that the owner gave him a chance at the microphone on stage. The rest, as they say, is history. This was also a time when he actually lived and slept in the back room with the empty bottles, etc. And, of course, it was across the street from a pool hall that he patronized in the afternoons after he was finished cleaning up the Blue Mirror.

Inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame, 1986.

Irish-American. Both of His parents were from County Cork,Ireland.