Ed Wynn Bio

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Ed Wynn Bio

Post by Calamity » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:05 am

Ed Wynn

Ed Wynn

He may have been best known as the perfect fool, but we know him as Professor Phineas T. Klump in The Ponderosa Birdman.

Guest Cap by Sandy / Ed Wynn as Professor Klump

Isaiah Edwin Leopold was born in Philadelphia on November 9, 1886. He attended public schools until he was fifteen and then ran away from home and began his career in vaudeville in 1903. His disapproving father, a hat manufacturer, insisted that the family name not be disgraced so young Isaiah became "Ed Wynn”. (Please note the similarity to his middle name.) Ed was married to Hilda Keenan, an actress and the daughter of Shakespearean actor Frank Keenan. Ed and Hilda had a son, Francis Xavier Aloysius James Jeremiah Keenan Wynn in 1916 during the height of Ed’s success on Broadway. He was a wonderfully talented man who wrote most all of his own material, but after a time the stage style variety shows went away. Vaudeville never really died, it lived on with Ed Wynn.

Ed Wynn on Broadway courtesy National Archives

Best known as a fantastic character actor and vaudevillian style clown, Ed Wynn's babbling voice and trademark giggle are unforgettable. Wynn took his talents to the radio as The Fire Chief, hosted by Texaco, and had the most popular radio show of his time.

Ed Wynn as The Fire Chief 1932 courtesy OTR

He then took his character to the movies in the 30s and even founded his own radio network. His Amalgamated Broadcasting System (ABS) was a dismal failure and he suffered both financial failure and an emotional breakdown along with a divorce.

Ed Wynn on Radio courtesy OTR

He married Frieda Mierse in '37 and divorced her in '39. This was the same time he turned down the title role in The Wizard of Oz. He married Dorothy Elizabeth Nesbitt in '46 and stayed married until '55. He starred in silent movies and managed to stay successful in movies even when the ‘talkies’ became available always playing the perfect fool.

thank you kwik102

He’s even had his own television show. Wynn had the first network show to originate from Hollywood. Since the show was aired live and it was technically impossible to air a live broadcast coast-to-coast in the 1949, each episode was shown via kinescope on the East Coast several weeks later. As a matter of fact, Wynn hosted three television shows from ’49 to ’52 and then thought of retiring.

Ed Wynn as The Toymaker from Babes in Toyland 1961

On the advice of his son, Keenan Wynn, Ed began to do more dramatic roles. At first he was as terrified as the networks that he would break into his trademark giggle, but he didn’t and excelled in Rod Serling’s Requiem for a Heavyweight in 1956. In 1959 he played Albert Dussell in The Diary of Anne Frank and was nominated for an Oscar. During a very long and successful career he’s been nominated and won several awards and has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: radio, motion pictures and television.

Requiem for a Heavyweight Playhouse 90 1956 / Ed Wynn, Keenan Wynn and Jack Palance

Throughout all the years and even though I've seen many of his characters I'll always remember him as the Mad Hatter in Disney's Alice in Wonderland. I just have to smile at this because his father, the hatter, disowned him for becoming a comedian but the rest of the world embraced and smiled with Ed Wynn.

The Mad Hatter from Disney's Alice in Wonderland voiced by Ed Wynn

Wynn died June 19, 1966 of cancer in Beverly Hills and is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, CA. You can find him easily by the epitaph on his grave stone:

"Dear God, Thanks... Ed Wynn"

Listen to Ed Wynn on Radio:
http://hw.libsyn.com/p/4/8/3/483f80faca ... cd1b58832e

Old Time Radio Catalog

Old Radio World
http://www.oldradioworld.com/shows/Ed_W ... _Chief.php

Twilight Zone


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