Shelley Berman, wry 'sit-down' comic and 'Curb' dad, dies at 92

03 September, 2017, 05:30 | Author: Warren Cooper
  • Shelley Berman Comedian Bard of Everyday Life has Died

USA Today reports that Shelley Berman died in his home in Bell Canyon, Calif. on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017.

Following Berman's death, a post was published on his website, listing various links of organizations offering information to Alzheimer's.

The Chicago-born Berman, who came to stand-up comedy via the theater and Chicago's improvisational Compass Players, defied stand-up comedy convention: He did his act sitting down.

And while Berman didn't quite fit a specific category of comedy, he would go on to become one of the most successful stand-up comics in the 1950s and '60s, paving the way for others like Woody Allen and Jerry Seinfeld. His 1959 album Inside Shelley Berman was awarded a gold record and became the first comedy album to win a Grammy. Two more albums achieved gold status.

From 2002 to 2009, Berman played Larry David's father, Nat, on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, and he received an Emmy nomination in 2008.

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As an actor, Berman was memorable as a guy who has some dirt on presidential candidate Cliff Robertson in Gore Vidal's The Best Man (1964); as the misanthropic Archibald Beechcroft, who wills everyone in the world to be just like him (to his eventual dismay), in a 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone; and as a hilariously senile judge on Boston Legal. I was not, in the strict sense of the word, a comedian.

Comedian Shelley Berman has died at 92.

In his book Who's Who In Comedy, author Ronald L Smith said: 'Mostly critics praise Berman as a virtuoso satirist of modern angst and anxiety - an intellectual performer'. "Along the way, I read and appreciated poetry, but never really tried my hand at writing it until late in my "other" career, teaching writing in USC's Master of Professional Writing program". His wife of 70 years, Sarah, was by his side.

Berman succumbed to complications of Alzheimer's disease and reportedly passed away "peacefully, in his sleep, with no pain as far as his hospice care workers could tell", wrote close friend Christopher May on a Berman fan club Facebook page. Berman and his wife adopted a son, Joshua, as well, who died of a brain tumor in 1977 at the age of 12.

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