- Burns, George
- (1896-1996)Born Nathan Birnbaum, comedian George Burns was one of 12 children brought up in poverty in Lower East Side, Manhattan. Burns left school after failing fifth grade and worked various odd jobs but struggled to enter the world of entertainment. He became a song-and-dance man in vaudeville but did not achieve success until he teamed up with Gracie Allen in 1923. Together they formed a comedy partnership in which she delivered the jokes he wrote, and he played the straight man.Burns and Allen married in 1926, became successful in the theaters of New York, and toured Europe in 1930. They made their radio debut in England and then established “The Burns and Allen Show,” which ran for 26 years, on the radio in the United States. Burns’s career seemed to come to an end after Allen’s death in 1964, but in 1975 he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in The Sunshine Boys. He had several other movie roles and also starred in several television specials. Burns authored a number of books, including I Love Her, That’s Why (1955), about Allen, and the autobiographical or semiautobiographical The Third Time Around (1980), How to Live to Be 100—or More (1983), Wisdom of the 90s (1991), and 100 Years, 100 Stories (1996).See also Cinema.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.