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Sam Levene

Sam Levene

Sam Levene was a Broadway, film, radio and television actor who in a career spanning more than five decades created some of the most legendary comedic roles in American theatrical history, including Nathan Detroit, the craps-shooter extraordinaire, in the 1950 original Broadway production of Guys and Dolls, Max Kane, the hapless agent, in the original 1932 Broadway production of Dinner at Eight; Patsy, a professional if not always successful gambler, in the 1935 original and longest running Broadway production of Three Men on a Horse; Gordon Miller, the shoestring producer, in the original 1937 Broadway production of Room Service; Sidney Black, a theatrical producer, in Moss Hart's original Broadway production of Light Up the Sky, Horace Vandergelder, the crotchety merchant of Yonkers, in the 1954 premier UK production of Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker, a play that became the basis for the musical Hello Dolly, Lou Winkler, a businessman in the original Broadway production of Fair Game a comedy by Sam Locke that Larry Gelbart attributed its 217 performance run mostly to the performance and star drawing power of Sam Levene who appeared in the comedy with Ellen McRae in her Broadway debut and would later change her name to Ellen Burstyn; and Al Lewis, the retired vaudevillian, in the original 1972 Broadway production of The Sunshine Boys, Neil Simon’s beloved salute to vaudevillians opposite Jack Albertson as Willie Clark, a role Levene performed 466 times on Broadway, first with Jack Albertson until October 28, 1974 and later opposite Jack Gilford, October 30, 1974 until February 10, 1975.

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