BREAKING: Legendary Entertainer Finally DEAD At 92


Shelley Berman, the wildly popular stand up comic of the late 1950s and ’60s who has passed away. He was 92.

Publicist Glenn Schwartz says Berman died Friday at his home in Bell Canyon, California.


His career as a stand up comedian ended following an unhinged outburst that was caught on camera so Berman concentrated on acting and eventually played Larry David’s father on the hit TV show Curb Your Enthusiasm.

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A standout in a golden era of comedy that included other observational masters like Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce and Bob Newhart, Berman died early Friday morning at his home in Bell Canyon, Calf., according to a post on his official Facebook page. He had a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, according to The Hollywood Reporter.


The Chicago native trained as a serious actor before jumping into comedy as a nightclub performer. His signature bit was to sit cross-legged on a bar stool, act as if he were on the telephone and improvise long, complicated, one-sided conversations.

In March 1963, NBC trailed him for a month for a documentary titled Comedian Backstage. When a ringing telephone backstage disrupted one of his phone routines — this one a tearjerker about his father — the camera was there to capture his outburst. “I’ll pull the damn phones out of the wall!” he said.


Inside Shelley Berman, his live record released in 1959, became the first comedy album to go gold (reaching sales of 500,000 units) and was the first non-musical recording to win a Grammy Award.

Berman became a national sensation, doing his act on The Ed Sullivan Show more than 20 times as well as performing on programs hosted by Allen, Jack Paar, Dinah Shore, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Dean Martin and others.

He paved the way for Woody Allen, Bob Newhart, Jerry Seinfeld and other comedians who fashioned their routines around the follies and frustrations of modern living.

Berman made the first of many appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1959. That year he issued his first album, “Inside Shelley Berman” the first winner of a Grammy for the spoken word.

In addition to The Best Man, Berman appeared in such films as Divorce American Style (1967) opposite Dick Van Dyke and Debbie Reynolds; Every Home Should Have One (1970) with Marty Feldman; Teen Witch (1989); The Last Producer (2000); Meet the Fockers (2004); The Aristocrats (2005); The Holiday (2006); and, as Adam Sandler’s father, in You Don’t Mess With the Zohan (2008).

On television, Berman could be spotted on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (as a member of The Better Luck Next Time Club, an organization for divorced people); on L.A. Law as a Hollywood mogul who takes Arnie Becker (Corbin Bernsen) under his wing; and on Friends as Rachel’s (Jennifer Aniston) boss at Fortunata Fashions.

He also showed up on episodes of Peter GunnBewitchedThe Man From U.N.C.L.E., Mary HartmanMary HartmanNight CourtMacGyverThe King of QueensThe Bernie Mac Show, Grey’s AnatomyEntourage and Hawaii Five-0.

His son Joshua, months shy of his 13th birthday, died in the mid-1970s from brain cancer.

The Official SHELLEY BERMAN Facebook Fan Group posted this:

Shelley passed away this morning at 1:24 a.m., at his home in Bell Canyon, CA, due to complications from Alzheimer’s. He was 92 years old. He slipped away peacefully, in his sleep, with no pain, as far as his hospice care workers could tell.

Right now, I’m a bit of a wreck, having spent much of the last couple of hours crying, pacing, being unable to concentrate, and, frankly, being conflicted as to how I should feel about all of this. I will have more to say in this group in the days ahead, but Sarah (who I just spoke to) wanted me to let all of Shelley’s Facebook fans know about Shelley’s passing. Sarah loves the fact that Shelley has so many devoted followers on social media.

There will be a private service for family and close friends, followed by a public memorial. I will provide details as they are finalized.

I’m going to leave it here for now, and I want all of you to please enjoy one of my favorite photos of Shelley, taken in Palm Beach, Florida, in the early ’60s — a star in his dressing room before showtime!

I love you, Shelley.

Rest in peace my brother and thanks for the memories and thanks for the laughs!

God Bless.

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