SID CAESAR Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Name: Sid Caesar                                                                     
Born: 8 September 1922 Yonkers, New York City, New York, U.S.A.                     
Sid Caesar (born September 8, 1922) is an Emmy-winning American comic actor and     
writer best known as the leading man on the 1950s television series Your Show of     
Shows and Caesar's Hour, and to younger generations as Coach Calhoun in Grease       
and Grease 2.                                                                       
Isaac Sidney Caesar was born in Yonkers, New York, where his father, Max, and       
mother, Ida, ran a twenty-four-hour luncheonette. Caesar would help his parents     
by waiting on tables and it was during this time that Sid learned to mimic many     
of the accents he would use throughout his long career. He first tried his           
double-talk with a group of Italians, his head barely reaching above the table.     
They enjoyed it so much, they sent him over to a group of Poles to repeat it in     
Polish, and so on with Russians, Hungarians, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Lithuanians,     
and Bulgarians. Despite his apparent fluency in many languages, in reality           
Caesar can only speak English and Yiddish. The Caesars were a funny family and       
Sid's older brother Dave was his comic mentor and 'one-man cheering section'.       
They created their earliest family skits from then current movies like Test         
Pilot and Wings.                                                                     
At fourteen, Caesar first went to the Catskills as a saxophonist with Mike           
Cifficello's Swingtime Six and would also occasionally perform in skits. After       
graduating from high school in 1939, Caesar's family was still reeling from the     
Great Depression and he moved out, intent on a musical career. He arrived in New     
York City penniless and tried to join the musician's union (later he audited         
classes at the famed Juilliard School of Music). That first summer on his own,       
he played at the Vacationland Hotel in Swan Lake in the Catskills. There under       
the tutelage of Don Appel, the resort's social director, Caesar played in the       
band and learned to perform comedy, doing three shows a week.                       
During the summer of 1942, he met his future wife Florence Levy at the Avon         
Lodge. After joining the musician's union, he briefly played with Shep Fields,       
Claude Thornhill, Charlie Spivak, and even Benny Goodman. In September 1942,         
Caesar joined the United States Coast Guard. Fortunately, he was posted to           
Brooklyn so he was able to maintain contact with his family and fiancie. Vernon     
Duke, the famous composer of Autumn in New York, April in Paris, and Taking a       
Chance on Love, was also stationed at the same base and he collaborated with         
Caesar in musical revues.                                                           
Caesar's knack for wisecracks, however, got bigger applause than the musical         
numbers, and the show's producer asked him to do stand-up between his numbers.       
While still in the service, Caesar was ordered to Palm Beach, Florida where         
Vernon Duke and Howard Dietz were putting together a service revue, Tars and         
Spars. There he met the civilian director of the show Max Liebman, later the         
producer of his first hit television series. Tars and Spars toured nationally       
and then a film version was made at Columbia Pictures. He also got a part in The     
Guilt of Janet Ames. He married Florence Levy on July 17, 1943. They are the         
parents of three children.