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Irving Brecher

( b. Jan 17, 1914 Bronx, New York, USA - d. Nov 17, 2008 Los Angeles, California, USA ) Male

Irving Brecher wrote vaudeville sketches for Milton Berle, jokes for Henny Youngman, comedies for the Marx Brothers, a television series for Jackie Gleason and screenplays for movie musicals including "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "Bye Bye Birdie."

Mr. Brecher received sole screenplay credit for two Marx Brothers films, a feat in itself. (The second was "Go West," released in 1940.) He was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay for "Meet Me in St. Louis," the Vincente Minnelli family musical set in the early 1900s, which became one of Judy Garland's biggest hits.

Mr. Brecher was the creator of the long-running radio series "The Life of Riley," about an ordinary working-class schnook who causes no end of trouble for his family; it was played first by Lionel Stander and later, more famously by William Bendix. Mr. Brecher turned it into a feature film, with Bendix, in 1949, and a television series in the fall of the same year -- making it arguably the first situation comedy on TV -- and hired Jackie Gleason for the lead role of Chester A. Riley. The series lasted only until the following spring. But when it was reprised in 1953, with Bendix back in the title role (frequently uttering his signature line, "What a revoltin' development this is!"), it stayed on the air until 1958.

His film credits include "Shadow of the Thin Man" (1941), with William Powell and Myrna Loy; "Du Barry Was a Lady" (1942), with Lucille Ball, Gene Kelly and Red Skelton; "Yolanda and the Thief" (1945), starring Fred Astaire; and "Bye Bye Birdie" (1963).

Source: NY Times Obituary

ProductionsDate of Productions
Sweet Charity
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Written by Irving Brecher
Dec 28, 1942 - Jan 02, 1943
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