David Burns (actor)

David Burns (June 22, 1902 – March 12, 1971) was an American Broadway theatre and motion picture actor and singer.[1][2]

David Burns
Carol Channing - 1964
David Burns and Carol Channing in
Hello, Dolly! on Broadway (1964)
BornJune 22, 1902
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
DiedMarch 12, 1971 (aged 68)
Years active1918–1971
Spouse(s)Mildred Todd

Life and career

Burns was born on Mott Street in Chinatown, Manhattan, the son of Harry and Dora Burns of Brooklyn.[3]

He made his Broadway debut in 1921 in Polly Preferred and went to London with the show in 1924.[4] His first musical was Face the Music in 1932,[5] and Cole Porter's Nymph Errant (1933) was his London debut.[6] He appeared in many comedies and musicals over an almost 50-year career.[7]

He won two Tony Awards for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, for his performances as "Mayor Shinn" in The Music Man (1958) and as "Senex" in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1963).[8][7]

Burns introduced the hit song "It Takes a Woman" from Hello, Dolly (1964) as the original "Horace Vandergelder".[9][10]

Burns won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Drama Series for his role of Mr. Solomon in the 1971 TV special (Hallmark Hall of Fame) The Price by Arthur Miller.[11]


Burns died on stage on March 12, 1971 of a heart attack, in Philadelphia during the out-of-town tryout of Kander and Ebb's musical 70, Girls, 70.[3]

Selected credits

Stage [7]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
1958 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical The Music Man[7] Won
1963 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum[7] Won
1966 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series The Trials of O'Brien[11] Nominated
1971 Hallmark Hall of Fame Won
Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen[7] Nominated

Further reading

  • Oderman, Stuart, Talking to the Piano Player 2. BearManor Media, 2009. ISBN 1-59393-320-7.


  1. ^ Sandra Brennan. "David Burns - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  2. ^ "David Burns". BFI.
  3. ^ a b "David Burns, 69, Star In Musicals" The New York Times, March 13, 1971.
  4. ^ The Broadway League. "David Burns - IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information".
  5. ^ Face the Music ibdb.com, retrieved October 12, 2017
  6. ^ Nymph Errant sondheimguide.com, retrieved October 12, 2017
  7. ^ a b c d e f "David Burns Broadway" Playbill.com; retrieved October 12, 2017.
  8. ^ "Search Past Tony Award Winners and Nominees - TonyAwards.com - The American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards® - Official Website by IBM". TonyAwards.com.
  9. ^ The Broadway League. "Hello, Dolly! - IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information".
  10. ^ Hello, Dolly! Playbill.com; retrieved October 12, 2017.
  11. ^ a b "David Burns Emmy" emmys.com, retrieved October 14, 2017
  12. ^ Barnes, Clive. "Theater: Art Buchwald's 'Sheep on the Runway' " The New York Times, February 2, 1970
  13. ^ "David Burns Films" tcm.com, retrieved October 12, 2017

External links

Burns (surname)

The surname Burns has several origins. In some cases it derived from the Middle English or Scots burn, and originated as a topographic name for an individual who lived by a stream. In other cases the surname is a variant form of the surname Burnhouse, which originated as habitational name, derived from a place name made up of the word elements burn and house. In other cases the surname Burns originated as a nickname meaning "burn house". In other cases, the surname Burns is an Anglicised form of the Gaelic Ó Broin, which means "descendant of Bran". In some cases the surname Burns is an Americanized form of the Jewish surname Bernstein, which is derived from the German bernstein ("amber").An early form of the surname when derived from the place name Burnhouse is "Burnis", recorded in 1526. An early form of the surname when derived from a nickname meaning "burn house" is "Brenhus", recorded in 1286 and 1275.

Awards for David Burns

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