Tony Randall (born Aryeh (Arthur) Leonard Rosenberg; February 26, 1920 – May 17, 2004) was an American actor. He is best known for his role as Felix Unger in a television adaptation of the 1965 play The Odd Couple by Neil Simon.
In a career spanning about six decades, Randall received six Golden Globe Award nominations and six Primetime Emmy Award nominations (winning one). On the May 9, 1990 episode of The Tonight Show, he added, "This is my 95th time on this show."
Randall in 1976
Aryeh (Arthur) Leonard Rosenberg
February 26, 1920
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Died||May 17, 2004 (aged 84)|
New York City, U.S.
|Alma mater||Northwestern University|
Randall attended Northwestern University for a year before going to New York City to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. He studied under Sanford Meisner and choreographer Martha Graham. Randall worked as an announcer at radio station WTAG in Worcester, Massachusetts. As Anthony Randall, he starred with Jane Cowl in George Bernard Shaw's Candida and Ethel Barrymore in Emlyn Williams's The Corn Is Green.
Randall then served for four years with the United States Army Signal Corps in World War II, including work at the Signals Intelligence Service.:207 After the war, he worked at the Olney Theatre in Montgomery County, Maryland before heading back to New York City.
In the 1940s, one of his first jobs was playing "Reggie" on the long-running radio series I Love a Mystery.
Randall also began appearing on television, notably episodes of One Man's Family.
Tony Randall's first major television role was as a history teacher, Harvey Weskit, in Mister Peepers (1952–1955). He continued to guest star on other shows such as The Gulf Playhouse (directed by Arthur Penn), The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse, Kraft Theatre, The Motorola Television Hour, Armstrong Circle Theatre, Studio One in Hollywood, Appointment with Adventure, and The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse.
On television he was in Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl (1956) co-written by Neil Simon. He guest starred on The Alcoa Hour.
Randall's success in Inherit the Wind led to film offers and his first significant big-screen role in Oh, Men! Oh, Women! (1957). It was made at 20th Century Fox who promoted Randall to stardom with Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) alongside Jayne Mansfield. He had one of the leads in No Down Payment (1957).
In 1958, Randall played the leading role in the Broadway musical comedy Oh, Captain!, taking on a role originated on film by Alec Guinness. Oh, Captain! was a financial failure, but Randall received a Tony Award nomination for his dance turn with prima ballerina Alexandra Danilova.
He then starred in an NBC-TV special The Secret of Freedom, which was filmed during the summer of 1959 in Mount Holly, New Jersey, and broadcast on the network during the fall of 1959 and again in early 1960. On TV he was also in The Man in the Moon (1960) co-written by Mel Brooks.
Randall was top billed in MGM's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960), then had a Pillow Talk style support role in Let's Make Love (1960) with Marilyn Monroe and Yves Montand and Lover Come Back (1961) with Hudson and Day.
Randall continued to guest on TV shows including General Electric Theater and Checkmate. In 1961 Randall played a highly dramatic role in "Hangover," an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in which he portrayed an alcoholic business executive who strangles his wife in a drunken rage.
Randall starred as nearly all of the leading characters in the 1964 classic film 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, which was based on The Circus of Dr. Lao by Charles G. Finney. In addition to portraying and voicing the eponymous 7 Faces (Dr. Lao, the Abominable Snowman, Merlin, Appolonius of Tyana, The Giant Serpent, Pan, and Medusa), Randall also appeared without makeup in a two-second cameo, as a solemn spectator in the crowd, for a total of 8 roles in the film. The film received an Oscar for William J. Tuttle's makeup artistry.
Randall had the lead in Fluffy (1965), a comedy about a lion; The Alphabet Murders (1965), playing Hercule Poirot for Frank Tashlin; Our Man in Marrakesh (1966), as a secret agent; and Hello Down There (1969).
Randall returned to Broadway in UTBU (1966) which only had a short run. He was in the TV movie The Littlest Angel (1969).
Randall returned to television in 1970 as Felix Unger in The Odd Couple, opposite Jack Klugman, a role lasting for five years. The names of Felix's children on The Odd Couple were Edna and Leonard, named for Randall's sister and Randall himself.
In 1974, Randall and Jack Klugman appeared in television spots endorsing a Yahtzee spinoff, Challenge Yahtzee. They appeared in character as Felix and Oscar, and the TV spots were filmed on the same set as The Odd Couple.
During the series run he had a small role in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972).
In 1973, he was originally hired to play the voice of Templeton the gluttonous rat in Charlotte's Web, but was replaced at the last minute by Paul Lynde, due to his voice sounding too sophisticated and the director wanting Templeton to have a nasal voice.
Randal starred in Love, Sidney from 1981–83. In the TV movie that served as the latter show's pilot, Sidney Shorr was written as a gay man, but his character's sexuality was made ambiguous when the series premiered. Randall refused to star in any more television shows, favoring the Broadway stage as his medium.
He did star in the TV movies Sunday Drive (1986) for Disney, Save the Dog! (1988), and The Man in the Brown Suit (1989). From October 30 to November 2, 1987, Randall hosted the free preview of HBO's short-lived premium channel Festival.
In 1989 he returned to Broadway as a replacement in M. Butterfly.
In 1991, Randall founded the National Actors Theatre (ultimately housed at Pace University in New York City. Their productions included The Crucible (1991), A Little Hotel on the Side (1992), The Master Builder (1992), The Seagull (1992), Saint Joan (1993), Three Men on a Horse (1993), Timon of Athens (1993), The Government Inspector (1993), The Flowering Peach (1994), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1994), The School for Scandal (1995), Inherit the Wind (1996), and The Gin Game (1997). He also did a production of The Sunshine Boys (1997) with Klugman which was a big success.
In September 1993, Randall and Jack Klugman reunited in the CBS-TV movie The Odd Couple: Together Again reprising their roles. The story began when, after Felix ruined plans for his daughter Edna's wedding, his wife Gloria threw him out of the house for 11 days, which left him no choice but to move back in with Oscar and to help him recover, getting him back in shape after throat cancer surgery left his voice very raspy.
Randall's later stage productions included Night Must Fall (1999) and Judgment at Nuremberg (2001).
Randall's last appearances on stage as an actor were in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (2002) and Right You Are (2003).
Randall was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and often spoke of his love of opera, saying it was due in no small part to the salaciousness of many of the plotlines. He also admitted to sneaking tape recorders into operas to make his own private recordings. He chided Johnny Carson for his chain-smoking and was generally fastidious. At the time of his death, Randall had appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show 105 times, more often than any other celebrity.
Randall appeared frequently on What's My Line?, Password, The Hollywood Squares, and the $10,000 and $20,000 Pyramids. He also parodied his pompous image with an appearance as a "contestant" on The Gong Show in 1977.
First aired on October 11, 1980, Randall was a guest star on the 5th and final season of The Muppet Show. This was the 100th episode of the show.
Randall, along with John Goodman and Drew Barrymore, was one of the first guests on the debut episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien on September 13, 1993. He would also appear in Conan's 5th Anniversary Special with the character PimpBot 5000. Randall was a frequent guest as well on both of David Letterman's late-night shows Late Night with David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman, making 70 appearances, according to his obituary in the Washington Post; Letterman said that Randall was one of his favorite guests, along with Regis Philbin.
On November 7, 1994, Randall appeared on the game show Jeopardy!, as part of a Special Edition Celebrity Jeopardy! episode playing on behalf of the National Actors Theatre. He came in second place after General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. and before Actress Stefanie Powers, with a final score of $9,900.
In 1973, Tony Randall and Jack Klugman recorded an album called The Odd Couple Sings for London Records. Roland Shaw and The London Festival Orchestra and Chorus provided the music and additional vocals. The record was not a chart-topper but is a highly sought-after item for many Odd Couple fans. Randall and Klugman also collaborated for a series of television commercials for Eagle Brand snacks, which can be viewed on YouTube.
A noted raconteur, Randall co-wrote with Mike Mindlin a collection of amusing and sometimes racy show business anecdotes called Which Reminds Me, published in 1989.
In keeping with his penchant for both championing and mocking the culture that he loved, during the Big Band era revival in the mid-1960s, he produced a record album of 1930s songs, Vo Vo De Oh Doe, inspired by (and covering) The New Vaudeville Band's one-hit wonder, "Winchester Cathedral". He mimicked (and somewhat exaggerated) the vibrato style of Carmen Lombardo, and the two of them once sang a duet of Lombardo's signature song "Boo Hoo (You've Got Me Crying for You)" on The Tonight Show.
Randall was married to Florence Gibbs from 1938 until her death from cancer on April 18, 1992. The following year, he said, "I wish I believed I'd see my parents again, see my wife again. But I know it's not going to happen." He remarried on November 17, 1995, to Heather Harlan, an intern in one of his theatrical programs. At the time, Tony was 75 years old and Heather was 25. They lived in a Manhattan apartment and bought a vacation apartment in Key Biscayne, Florida, in 2003. The couple, who had two children, Julia born on April 11, 1997 and Jefferson born on June 15, 1998, remained married until his death in May 2004.
In his book Which Reminds Me, Randall maintained that any publicity an actor generates should be about his work, not himself. "The public knows only one thing about me: I don't smoke."
Randall died in his sleep on May 17, 2004, at NYU Medical Center of pneumonia that he had contracted following coronary bypass surgery in December 2003. He had been hospitalized since the operation. His remains are interred at the Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.
|1957||Oh, Men! Oh, Women!||Cobbler|
|1957||Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?||Rockwell P. Hunter/Himself/Lover Doll||Nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy|
|1957||No Down Payment||Jerry Flagg|
|1959||The Mating Game||Lorenzo Charlton|
|1959||Pillow Talk||Jonathan Forbes||Nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture|
|1960||The Man in the Moon||TV movie|
|1960||The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn||The King of France|
|1960||Let's Make Love||Alexander Coffman|
|1960||Hooray for Love||TV movie|
|1960||Open Windows||TV movie|
|1961||Lover Come Back||Peter 'Pete' Ramsey||Nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture|
|1962||Arsenic & Old Lace||Mortimer Brewster||TV movie|
|1962||Boys' Night Out||George Drayton|
|1962||Two Weeks in Another Town||Ad Lib in Lounge||Uncredited|
|1963||Island of Love||Paul Ferris|
|1964||7 Faces of Dr. Lao||Dr. Lao / Merlin / Pan / Abominable Snowman / Medusa / Giant Serpent / Apollonius of Tyana|
|1964||The Brass Bottle||Harold Ventimore|
|1964||Robin and the 7 Hoods||Hood||Uncredited|
|1964||Send Me No Flowers||Arnold|
|1965||Fluffy||Prof. Daniel Potter|
|1965||The Alphabet Murders||Hercule Poirot|
|1966||Our Man in Marrakesh||Andrew Jessel||Alternate title: Bang! Bang! You're Dead!|
|1969||Hello Down There||Fred Miller||Alternate title: Sub-A-Dub-Dub|
|1969||The Littlest Angel||Democritus||TV movie|
|1972||Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)||The Operator|
|1973||The All-American Boy||Uncredited|
|1978||Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid||Lord Seymour Devery||TV movie|
|1979||Scavenger Hunt||Henry Motley|
|1980||The Gong Show Movie||Himself|
|1981||Sidney Shorr: A Girl's Best Friend||Sidney Shorr||TV movie|
|1982||The King of Comedy||Himself|
|1984||My Little Pony||The Moochick (voice)||TV movie|
|1984||Off Sides (Pigs vs. Freaks)||Rambaba Organimus||TV movie|
|1985||The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal||Himself|
|1985||Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil||Putzi||TV movie|
|1986||My Little Pony: The Movie||The Moochick (voice)|
|1986||Sunday Drive||Uncle Bill||TV movie (The Disney Sunday Movie)|
|1987||Lyle, Lyle Crocodile: The Musical - The House on East 88th Street||Narrator / Signor Valenti (voice)||TV movie|
|1987||The Gnomes' Great Adventure||Gnome King / Ghost of the Black Lake (voice)|
|1988||Save the Dog!||Oliver Bishop||TV movie|
|1988||The Man in the Brown Suit||Rev. Edward Chicester||Agatha Christie TV movie|
|1989||It Had to Be You||Milton|
|1990||Gremlins 2: The New Batch||Brain Gremlin (voice)|
|1991||The Boss||Narrator (voice)||Short|
|1991||Dragon and Slippers||Merlin (voice)|
|1993||The Odd Couple: Together Again||Felix Unger||TV movie|
|1993||Fatal Instinct||Judge Skanky|
|1996||How the Toys Saved Christmas||Mr. Grimm (voice)|
|2003||Down with Love||Theodore Banner|
|2005||It's About Time||Mr. Rosenberg||Posthumous release|
Randall was nominated for five Golden Globe awards and six Emmy Awards, winning one Emmy in 1975 for his work on the sitcom The Odd Couple. In 1993, he received The Hundred Year Association of New York's Gold Medal Award "in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York." Pace University granted him an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 2003. In 1999 the City College of New York honored Randall with the John H. Finley Award for outstanding service to the City of New York.
The 36th Annual Tony Awards was broadcast by CBS television on June 6, 1982, from the Imperial Theatre. The host was Tony Randall.Boys' Night Out (film)
Boys' Night Out is a 1962 American romantic comedy film starring Kim Novak, James Garner, and Tony Randall, and featuring Janet Blair, Patti Page, Jessie Royce Landis, Oscar Homolka, Howard Duff and Howard Morris. The picture was directed by Michael Gordon and was written by Ira Wallach based on a story by Arne Sultan and Marvin Worth.
The film is about three men who are looking to meet needs that are not being satisfied in their marriages. Their bachelor friend arranges for a "kept woman" who is in reality a sociology student studying contemporary American men.Hello Down There
Hello Down There (re-released in 1974 as Sub-A-Dub-Dub) is a 1969 American comedy-adventure film from Paramount Pictures, produced by George Sherman and Ivan Tors, directed Jack Arnold and Ricou Browning (underwater sequences), and starring Tony Randall and Janet Leigh. The screenplay was written by John McGreevey and Frank Telford. Its 1974 re-release was part of the "Paramount Family Matinee" series.Island of Love (1963 film)
Island of Love is a 1963 American comedy film directed by Morton DaCosta and written by David R. Schwartz. The film stars Robert Preston, Tony Randall, Giorgia Moll, Walter Matthau, Betty Bruce and Vassili Lambrinos. The film was released by Warner Bros. on June 12, 1963.Jack Klugman
Jack Klugman (April 27, 1922 – December 24, 2012) was an American stage, film, and television actor.He began his career in 1950, and started television and film work with roles in 12 Angry Men (1957) and Cry Terror! (1958). During the 1960s, he guest-starred on numerous television series. Klugman won his first Primetime Emmy Award for his guest-starring role on The Defenders, in 1964. He also made a total of four appearances on The Twilight Zone from 1960 to 1963. In 1970, Klugman reprised his Broadway role of Oscar Madison in the television adaptation of The Odd Couple, opposite Tony Randall. The series aired from 1970 to 1975. Klugman won his second and third Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award for his work on the series. From 1976 to 1983, he starred in the title role in Quincy, M.E. for which he earned four Primetime Emmy Award nominations.Let's Make Love
Let's Make Love is a 1960 musical comedy film made by 20th Century Fox in DeLuxe Color and CinemaScope. It was directed by George Cukor and produced by Jerry Wald from a screenplay by Norman Krasna, Hal Kanter, and Arthur Miller. It starred Marilyn Monroe, Yves Montand, and Tony Randall. It would be Monroe's last musical film performance.Lover Come Back (1961 film)
Lover Come Back is a 1961 Eastmancolor romantic comedy released by Universal Pictures and directed by Delbert Mann. The film stars Doris Day and Rock Hudson in their second film together. The supporting cast includes Tony Randall, Edie Adams, Ann B. Davis, and Donna Douglas.
This is the second of three movies in which Day, Hudson and Randall starred together, the other two being Pillow Talk (1959) and Send Me No Flowers (1964).
The story is similar to Pillow Talk in that it includes mistaken identity as a key plot device. Although not as well known as Pillow Talk, the script by Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning earned an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay.No Down Payment
No Down Payment is a 1957 film drama directed by Martin Ritt. It was scripted by Philip Yordan, who fronted for a then uncredited and blacklisted Ben Maddow, and is based on the novel of the same name by John McPartland. Featured is an all star cast, including Joanne Woodward, Sheree North, Tony Randall, Jeffrey Hunter, Cameron Mitchell, and Pat Hingle.
Set in a California subdivision, the story follows four couples who have bought homes and are neighbors. Among the problems facing the couples are alcoholism, racism, and promiscuity.
The story revolves around the idea of "no down payment" and the over-extended nature of families' economic situation. Tony Randall is in an unsympathetic role, a car salesman looking for a good time. Other issues include discrimination against a former war hero for lack of education.Our Man in Marrakesh
Our Man in Marrakesh (released in North America as Bang! Bang! You're Dead!) is a 1966 British comedy spy film shot in Morocco produced and co-written by Harry Alan Towers, directed by Don Sharp and starring Tony Randall, Herbert Lom and Senta Berger.Pillow Talk (film)
Pillow Talk is a 1959 Oscar-winning Eastmancolor romantic comedy film in CinemaScope directed by Michael Gordon. It features Rock Hudson, Doris Day, Tony Randall, Thelma Ritter and Nick Adams. The film was written by Russell Rouse, Maurice Richlin, Stanley Shapiro and Clarence Greene.
It tells the story of Jan Morrow (Day), an interior decorator and Brad Allen (Hudson), a womanizing composer/bachelor, who share a telephone party line. When she unsuccessfully files a complaint on him for constantly using the line to woo his conquests, Brad decides to take a chance on Jan by masquerading as a Texas rancher, resulting in the two falling in love. The scheme seems to work until Brad's mutual friend and Jan's client Jonathan Forbes (Randall) finds out about this, causing a love triangle in the process.
According to a “Rambling Reporter” (August 28, 1959) item in The Hollywood Reporter, RKO originally bought the script by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene in 1942, but since it was not produced, the writers bought it back in 1945. In 1947, they sold it as a play, but bought it back once again four years later, finally selling it in 1958 to Arwin Productions, the company owned by Doris Day’s husband, Martin Melcher. Although the film was originally titled Pillow Talk, according to a February 2, 1959 “Rambling Reporter” item in The Hollywood Reporter, the title “displeased” the PCA, and was changed to Any Way the Wind Blows. In August 1959, however, the original title was reinstated.
The film won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Doris Day), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Thelma Ritter), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color (Richard H. Riedel, Russell A. Gausman, Ruby R. Levitt) and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.This is the first of three romantic comedies in which Day, Hudson and Randall starred together, the other two being Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers (1964).
Upon its release, Pillow Talk brought in a then staggering domestic box-office gross of $18,750,000 and gave Rock Hudson's career a comeback after the failure of A Farewell to Arms earlier that year.
On July 14, 1980, Jack Martin reported on Pillow Talk as "biggest hit of 1959".
In 2009, it was entered into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant and preserved.Rescue at Midnight Castle
Rescue at Midnight Castle, also known as Rescue from Midnight Castle and released later as Firefly's Adventure, is a 1984 animated television special based on the Hasbro toy line, My Little Pony. It was released as a pilot of the proposed television series, and featured the voices of Sandy Duncan and Tony Randall.Send Me No Flowers
Send Me No Flowers is a 1964 American Technicolor comedy film, directed by Norman Jewison and starring Rock Hudson, Doris Day, and Tony Randall. After Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back, it is the third and final film in which Hudson, Day and Randall starred together.
The screenplay by Julius J. Epstein is based on the play by Norman Barasch and Carroll Moore, which had a brief run on Broadway in 1960.
The title tune was written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach.That's Adequate
That's Adequate is a 1989 mockumentary documenting a fictional Hollywood studio, Adequate Film Studios. Narrated and hosted by Tony Randall, the film features an all-star cast including James Coco (in his final film role), Robert Downey Jr., Anne Meara, Jerry Stiller, Bruce Willis and Ben Stiller.It was also the last one for actress Ina Balin, who had also appeared in Hurwitz's previous films such as The Projectionist and The Comeback Trail.The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960 film)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a 1960 American film directed by Michael Curtiz. Based on the novel of the same name by Mark Twain, it was the third sound film version of the story and the second filmed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film was the first adaptation of Huckleberry Finn to be filmed in CinemaScope and Technicolor. It starred Eddie Hodges as Huck and former boxer Archie Moore as the runaway slave Jim. Tony Randall also appeared in the film (and received top billing), and Buster Keaton had a bit role in what proved to be his final film for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, his former studio. Neville Brand portrayed Pap Finn, Huck's alcoholic father.
Some scenes in the film were shot on the Sacramento River, which doubled for the Mississippi River.The Alphabet Murders
The Alphabet Murders is a British detective film based on the novel The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie, starring Tony Randall as Hercule Poirot.The Brass Bottle (1964 film)
The Brass Bottle is a 1964 American fantasy-comedy film about a modern man who accidentally acquires the friendship of a long-out-of-circulation Genie.
The film starred Tony Randall, Burl Ives and Barbara Eden. Eden's role was instrumental in getting her cast as the star of the TV series I Dream of Jeannie, even though she did not play a genie in this film.The Mating Game (film)
The Mating Game (1959) is an MGM Metrocolor film in CinemaScope directed by George Marshall, and starring Debbie Reynolds, Tony Randall and Paul Douglas in his final film role. Reynolds sings the title song during the opening credits. The film was written by William Roberts very loosely based on a British novel, The Darling Buds of May by H. E. Bates, which was later adapted into a more faithful 1991–93 British miniseries, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones in the role that Debbie Reynolds plays in the film.
The film has been featured on Turner Classic Movies, and was released on DVD by The Warner Archive in March 2009.The Tony Randall Show
The Tony Randall Show is an American sitcom that aired on ABC during its first season from September 23, 1976 to March 10, 1977 and on CBS for its second (and final) season from September 24, 1977 to March 25, 1978.Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is a 1957 American satirical comedy film starring Jayne Mansfield and Tony Randall, with Betsy Drake, Joan Blondell, John Williams, Henry Jones, Lili Gentle, and Mickey Hargitay, and with a cameo by Groucho Marx. The film is a satire on popular fan culture, Hollywood hype, and the advertising industry, which was making millions of dollars off the growing revenue from television ads. It also takes aim at television and the reduction it caused to the size of movie theater audiences in the 1950s. The film was also known as Oh! For a Man! in the United Kingdom.
The film was produced and directed by Frank Tashlin, who also wrote the largely original screenplay, using little more than the title and the character of Rita Marlowe from the successful Broadway play Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? by George Axelrod. The play had run from 1955 to 1956 and also starred Jayne Mansfield as Rita.