Bill Idelson (August 21, 1919 – December 31, 2007) was an actor and scriptwriter best known for his teenage role as Rush Gook on the radio comedy Vic and Sade and his later, recurring television role as Herman Glimscher on The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960s, before making a distinguished third career as a television writer, director and producer. Idelson was born in Forest Park, Illinois. His parents were Russian immigrants. He was also the father of television writer/actress Ellen Idelson.
Idelson's acting career began in 1931 on Chicago's WGN radio, when he played Skeezix on Uncle Walt and Skeezix, a radio drama based on the Gasoline Alley comic strip. One year later he landed the role of Rush on the long-running Vic and Sade, playing the role until he joined the U.S. Navy in World War II]. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross and four Air Medals as a night fighter pilot.
After the war, his acting credits included radio and television versions of the daytime drama series One Man's Family.
Admirers of Idelson's radio work included writer-director Norman Corwin. "He was a luminary," Corwin told the Los Angeles Times upon Idelson's death. "He stood out among the radio comedians, and he stood out because of very good writing by Paul Rhymer and very good acting by himself. I had nothing but admiration for this fellow."
In The Dick Van Dyke Show Idelson played Herman Glimscher, the milquetoast boyfriend of Sally Rogers (Rose Marie). "Herman could never marry because his mother wouldn't sign off on it yet, and when he had a date with Sally Rogers he brought his mother a couple of times," show creator and co-star Carl Reiner told the Los Angeles Times. He re-created the role in the first decade of the 21st Century for a reunion show of The Dick Van Dyke Show, with Herman finally married to Sally as she joins her former colleague Rob Petrie (Van Dyke) to write a new special for their megalomaniacal former boss, Alan Brady (Reiner).
Idelson continued television acting for a few years during and after The Dick Van Dyke Show, guest starring on episodes of Dragnet, The Twilight Zone, My Favorite Martian, The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Perry Mason and Will & Grace.
He wrote some episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, leading him to further writing work on episodes of The Twilight Zone, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., The Andy Griffith Show, Get Smart, The Odd Couple, M*A*S*H and Happy Days. He received two Writers Guild Awards for best episodic comedy, one for an episode of Get Smart and the other for an episode of The Andy Griffith Show.
He also found a niche as a producer, with credits including The McLean Stevenson Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Anna and the King and Love, American Style.
He was the author of three books, The Story of Vic and Sade, Gibby (an autobiographical novel about a fighter pilot) and Bill Idelson's Writing Class.
Idelson died in a Los Angeles hospital of complications from a hip injury.