Berle, Milton

Berle, Milton

Berle, Milton, 1908–2002, American entertainer, b. New York City as Milton Berlinger. Berle first performed in vaudeville and on (1939–48) radio. His great success, however, came as television's first real star, and his broadly appealing comedy routines contributed significantly to the young medium's growing popularity. His successful weekly “Texaco Star Theater” (1948–54) earned him the nickname “Mr. Television.” Also affectionately called “Uncle Miltie,” Berle appeared in numerous movies, including Always Leave Them Laughing (1949), It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963), and Broadway Danny Rose (1984).


See his autobiography (1974).

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Berle, Milton (b. Milton Berlinger)

(1908–  ) stand-up/television comedian; born in New York City. A child actor in silent films, he appeared in vaudeville and New York musicals like the Ziegfield Follies, returning to movies in the 1940s. "Uncle Miltie" hosted the television variety show, Texaco Star Theatre, from 1948–56; the series' popularity earned him the title "Mr. Television" and helped change the television set from a toy for the wealthy into a family fixture. He continued his career, appearing in occasional movies as well as doing his one-man turns in clubs, but although he retained the admiration of his fans and fellow comedians, he never regained the broad public of his television days.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.