Jackie Gleason

Herbert John "Jackie" Gleason was born Feb. 26, 1916, in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of a working mother who sold subway tokens to make ends meet. Due largely to his financial straits, he began performing onstage and in nightclubs at a young age and soon found himself playing gangsters in several Hollywood films.

But it was his hosting gig on the television variety show "Cavalcade of Stars" (1950-52) that introduced him to Art Carney, his future co-star in the sitcom that would make him a TV legend, "The Honeymooners." When the show ended in 1959, Gleason turned his attention back to film, earning an Oscar nod for his role as Minnesota Fats in The Hustler (1961).

Other big-screen highlights before his death on June 24, 1987, include Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962), the Woody Allen-penned Don't Drink the Water (1969), Smokey and the Bandit (1977), The Toy (1982) and Nothing in Common (1986).

Filmography