Selma Diamond

Selma Diamond

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Selma Diamond

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Selma Diamond (August 5, 1920 ā€“ May 13, 1985) was a Canadian-born American comic actress and radio and television writer, and is best known for her high-range, raspy voice and her portrayal of Selma Hacker on the first two seasons of the NBC television comedy series Night Court.

Biography

Diamond was born in Montreal, Quebec, and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from New York University and published cartoons and humour essays in The New Yorker before making the jump to radio and, eventually, television. Her earliest radio writing credits included Groucho Marx, Duffy's Tavern, and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. In 1950, she became one of the staffers hired by legendary comedy writer Goodman Ace (who'd previously hired her for some work on Danny Kaye's short-lived 1940sā€™ radio show) for The Big Show (1950ā€“1952), the ninety-minute radio variety program hosted by Tallulah Bankhead and featuring some of the biggest entertainers of the era weekly.

She moved on to television as one of the writers for Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca's groundbreaking Your Show of Shows. Diamond was reputed to have been the inspiration for the Sally Rogers character on The Dick Van Dyke Show (played by the similarly raspy-voiced Rose Marie), which centered around the head writer for a fictitious, mercurial television comedian. While writing for another Caesar vehicle, Caesar's Hour, Diamond earned an Emmy nomination. She also worked for Goodman Ace once again, writing for Perry......
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