Dick Shawn

Dick Shawn

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Dick Shawn

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Dick Shawn (December 1, 1923 – April 17, 1987) was an American actor and comedian.

Early life and career

Shawn was born as Richard Schulefand in Buffalo, New York. He played Sylvester Marcus, son of Mrs. Marcus (Ethel Merman), in Stanley Kramer's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Lorenzo St. DuBois/Adolf Hitler in the musical Springtime for Hitler, the play within the movie The Producers. He also provided the Snow Miser's voice in The Year Without a Santa Claus.

He had continued success with his stand-up comedy act that he successfully performed for over 35 years in nightclubs around the world. His award-winning one-man stage show, The Second Greatest Entertainer in the Whole Wide World, was sometimes performed with a unique opening: When the audience entered the theater, they saw a bare stage with a pile of bricks in stage center. When the play began, Shawn emerged from the pile of bricks. The startling effect of this required complete concentration and breath control because the slightest movement of the bricks could ruin the surprise appearance.

In addition to roles in more than 30 movies and seven Broadway productions, Shawn made numerous television appearances, toured often and periodically performed a one-man show that mixed songs, sketches and pantomime. He was a frequent speaker at the infamous Friars Club Roasts in Los Angeles and New York. At one of the X-rated roasts (a 1986 Playboy roast of Tommy Chong) that had overdosed on tasteless routines by...
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