On This Day

Milton Berle

Comedian and TV Host Milton Berle

Profession: Comedian and TV Host

Nationality:
United States of America
American

Why Famous: Milton Berle broke into show business by winning a Charlie Chaplin impersonation contest aged 5 and went on to become the first major American television star, so much so he was dubbed 'Mr Television'.

Berle had a successful career on stage, in vaudeville and on radio before landing a role on the new TV version of "Texaco Star Theater" in 1948. He became its permanent host and dominated the early days of television with his quick wit, gags and funny costumes. The show was so popular it is reputed to have driven the sales of new televisions and forced bars and clubs to change their usual day of closing to the same day the show was on.

In 1951 NBC signed him to an unheard of 30-year-contract of one million dollars. This led to the "Milton Berle Show" (1955-56) after Texaco Star Theater finished in 1954.

In his later career he frequently appeared on shows as a guest star and was an Emmy nominated guest actor for"The Dick Powell Show" in 1961 and for "Beverly Hills, 90210" in 1995.

He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1984,its first year and he has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for radio and TV.

Born: July 12, 1908
Birthplace: NYC, New York, USA

Generation: Greatest Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Monkey
Star Sign: Cancer

Died: March 27, 2002 (aged 93)

Historical Events

  • 1948-06-08 "Texaco Star Theater" premieres on NBC-TV, with "Mr. Television" Milton Berle made permanent emcee in September of the same year
  • 1948-09-21 Milton Berle becomes the permanent host on NBC's TV show "Texaco Star Theater"
  • 1953-06-09 Milton Berle's TV show "Texaco Star Theater" last airs on NBC-TV
  • 1953-09-29 "Milton Berle Show" premieres on NBC in the US
  • 1956-06-05 "Milton Berle Show" last airs on NBC-TV
  • 1959-05-13 Kraft Music Hall with Milton Berle last airs on NBC-TV
  • 1967-01-06 "Milton Berle Show" last airs on ABC-TV