Sheldon Leonard

Sheldon Leonard

1949-53: Cast member on NBC Radio's "The Martin and Lewis Show".

1965: He cast Bill Cosby in the TV series "I Spy" (1965), making him one of TV's first black leading men.

1992: Inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, after receiving five Emmy awards for his producing/directing efforts. In 1995 he received a lifetime membership into the Director's Guild of America. Accepting the honor, he quipped, "Giving a lifetime membership to a guy 88 years old -- big f***ing deal!".

He said in an interview that the only reason he agreed to play Nick the bartender in the classic It's a Wonderful Life (1946) was so that he could buy Dodger baseball tickets.

Married to Frances Babor for 66 years. They had a son and daughter. Frances passed away two years later (1999) at age 91 and was buried beside Sheldon.

Received the rank of Eagle Scout (the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America).