1886 - 1966
Comedian and actor Ed Wynn, the ‘perfect fool’, died June 19, 1966. He was 79.
Wynn was born Isaiah Edward Leopold on November 9, 1886 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At an early age, he decided show business was his career path.
He took his comedic talents on the vaudeville circuit, and acted on Broadway, radio, the movies and television.
Wynn made his professional debut in 1902 in The Perfect Fool, which Wynn wrote, directed, produced and starred in. In fact, for the remainder of his life, Wynn would be known as the perfect fool.
His style of comedy involved visual slapstick effects, in addition to zany mannerisms and the use of exaggerated costumes.
Some of Wynn’s early films included Rubber Heels (1927), Follow the Leader (1930) and The Chief (1933).
Late in his career, Wynn became a dramatic actor, appearing in Requiem for a Heavyweight in 1956 and The Diary of Anne Frank in 1959. Wynn was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the latter film. He also appeared in The Greatest Story Ever Told and Mary Poppins.
One of Wynn’s best performances came on a Twilight Zone episode in which he played a peddler who kept the devil distracted so a little boy would live.
Wynn had two variety shows on television, both short-lived. The first was on CBS in 1949. The other was on NBC in 1958.
Wynn’s son, Kennan, had a successful movie career, while grandson Tracy Keenan, became a screenwriter.
Wynn died June 19, 1966 in Los Angeles.