( b. Sep 08, 1922 Yonkers, New York, USA - d. Feb 12, 2014 Los Angeles, California, USA ) Male
Sid Caesar was one of the first stars created by television via his weekly live comedy program "Your Show of Shows." Caesar, partnered with Imogene Coca, is credited with breaking ripe comedic ground with the 90-minute live program: It didn't rely on vaudeville or standup-inspired material but rather on long skits and sketches written by an impressive roster of comedy writers including Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Lucille Kallen and Mel Tolkin.
Sidney Caesar was born of immigrant parents in Yonkers, N.Y. As a youth he aspired to a musical career and practiced the saxophone, which he later studied formally for a brief time (along with the clarinet) at Juilliard. He worked for several orchestras including those of Charlie Spivak, Claude Thornhill and Shep Fields.
After enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard prior to WWII, he wrote sketches for "Six On, Twelve Off," a Coast Guard musical revue. Then Coast Guard officer Vernon Duke heard Caesar perform one of his foreign-language double-talk monologues (a later Caesar trademark) for the amusement of his fellow mates and hired him for a comic role in another Coast Guard musical, "Tars and Spars."
After a year of working in Hollywood, he returned to New York and made his first nightclub appearance at the Copacabana. Joseph Hyman hired him for the Broadway revue Make Mine Manhattan, for which he received raves (he was "the most original item on the program," wrote the New York Times reviewer). And he received a percentage of the show's profits -- almost unknown for a young performer. He won the 1948 Donaldson Award for the musical.
The following year Caesar made his television debut in Liebman's "Admiral Broadway Revue," where he met comedienne Coca. He was hailed as the find of the year and earned a princely $900 a week. But the show lasted only 19 weeks, shuttered because of high production costs.
But on Feb. 24, 1950, NBC launched "Your Show of Shows," a revue of comedy sketches, ballet, modern dance, popular music and operatic selections. Directed and produced by Liebman, the program was broadcast live in front of an audience. Coca co-starred with Caesar, who was then receiving $4,000 a week for his services.
In 1954, when the ratings began to slip, the program was trimmed and renamed "Caesar's Hour." Coca was replaced by Nanette Fabray. The change enabled Caesar to last another three years on television. He was nominated for Emmys every year from 1951 to 1958 and won two.
For the next few years, Caesar continued to make club appearances, starred in the Broadway musical Little Me and toured with Neil Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers. His movies included "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World" and Brooks' "Silent Movie."
His reign as the star of "Your Show of Shows" has been fictionally chronicled in the film "My Favorite Year" as well as in Simon's Broadway comedy Laughter on the 23rd Floor and explored in the 2001 documentary "Hail Sid Caesar! The Golden Age of Comedy."
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