BURGESS MEREDITH Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Oliver Burgess Meredith                                                           
Born: 16 November 1907 Cleveland, Ohio, USA                                             
Died: 9 September 1997 Malibu, California, USA                                         
Oliver Burgess Meredith (November 16, 1907 – September 9, 1997) was a                 
versatile American actor. He was known for portraying Rocky Balboa's trainer           
Mickey Goldmill in the Rocky films and The Penguin in the television series             
Batman. Contemporary fans recall him as the "Old Man" (Jack Lemmon's father) in         
the films Grumpy Old Men and Grumpy Old Men II.                                         
Meredith was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Ida Beth Burgess and Canadian-born             
William George Meredith, M.D. He graduated from Hoosac School in 1926. He               
then attended Amherst College as a member of the Class of 1931. In 1933, he             
became a member of Eva Le Gallienne's theatre company in New York. He attracted         
favorable attention for playing George in a 1939 adaptation of John Steinbeck's         
Of Mice and Men and as war correspondent Ernie Pyle in The Story of G.I. Joe (1945).   
Interestingly, the comic strip on which the latter film was based later begat a         
range of action figures which themselves became popular and in the 1980s               
featured in their own movie, the animated GI Joe: The Movie in which Meredith           
also starred as the voice of villain Golobulus.                                         
Meredith was featured in many 1940s films, including three (Second Chorus (1940),       
Diary of a Chambermaid (1946) and On Our Merry Way (1948) ) co-starring then-wife       
Paulette Goddard. Among later roles, he became known for playing The Penguin on         
the television series Batman. His role as the Penguin was so well-received that         
the show's writers always had a script featuring the Penguin ready whenever             
Meredith was available. He appeared on the show more times during its run than         
any other villain.                                                                     
Meredith served in the United States Army Air Forces in World War II, reaching         
the rank of captain. As a result of the House Committee on Un-American                 
Activities investigation into Communist influence in Hollywood, Meredith was           
placed on the Hollywood blacklist in the 1950s.                                         
Burgess Meredith was adept playing both dramatic and comedic roles, and with his       
rugged looks and gravelly voice, he could convincingly play either an everyman         
hero or a sinister villain. He appeared in four different starring roles in the         
acclaimed anthology TV series The Twilight Zone; only Jack Klugman had as many         
leading guest appearances. In the famous "Time Enough at Last", a 1959 episode         
of The Twilight Zone, Meredith plays a henpecked bank teller who only wants to         
be left alone with his books. In the 1961 episode "Mr. Dingle, the Strong",             
Meredith plays the title character, a timid weakling who, as the subject of a           
space alien's experiment on human nature, suddenly acquires superhuman strength.       
In "Printer's Devil," Meredith portrayed the Devil himself, and in "The Obsolete       
Man" he portrayed a deeply religious man, sentenced to death in a future,               
dystopic totalitarian society. He would later play two more roles in Rod Serling's     
other anthology series, Night Gallery. Meredith was the narrator for Twilight           
Zone: The Movie in 1983.                                                               
Meredith achieved iconic status for playing The Penguin in the television series       
In 1972 - 1973, Meredith played V.C.R. Cameron, director of "Probe Control," in         
the television movie/pilot "Probe" and then in "Search" the subsequent TV series       
(the name was changed to avoid conflict with a program on PBS). The series             
involved "World Securities Corporation," a private agency which, among other           
activities, fielded a number of detectives equipped with high-tech equipment           
including a tiny TV transmitter (the "Scanner") which allowed Probe Control to         
see what was going on where the agents were working. One episode centered around       
Cameron being kidnapped and having to escape from a torture chamber, without any       
of the tools carried by Probe agents.