Sheldon Leonard

Sheldon Leonard

Show Count: 46
Series Count: 7
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Born: February 22, 1907
Old Time Radio, New York City, New York, U.S.
Died: January 11, 1997 , Beverly Hills, California, U.S.

Born in New York City on February 22, 1907, Sheldon Leonard grew up to be a six-foot actor who specialized in roles of supporting characters. His radio career includes shows such as Broadway is My Beat, a crime drama broadcast from Hollywood in 1949 starring Larry Thor as Detective Danny Clover.

In 1948, Leonard was in the cast of The Damon Runyon Theater, a dramatic anthology based on the stories of Damon Runyon. John Brown was “Broadway,” the narrator of the show, which also starred Anne Whitfield as Little Miss Marker and Gerald Mohr as Sorrowful Jones.

In addition, Leonard was cast in the situation comedy, The Halls of Ivy, about critical turning points in the lives of its characters. Ronald Coleman starred as William Todhunter Hall, president of an Ivy League college with Victoria Cromwell as his wife.

Leonard was periodically cast as a racetrack announcer in the highly successful comedy show, The Jack Benny Program. Benny would occasionally frequent the local racetrack where he encountered Leonard’s character on the program. Besides Jack Benny himself, Mary Livingstone, Dennis Day, Phil Harris, Don Wilson and Rochester were also on the show at the same time as Leonard.

Sheldon Leonard was a cast member on The Martin and Lewis Show on NBC Radio and other shows such as Johnny Fletcher, a comedy-detective drama that cast Bill Goodwin as Johnny, and Leonard playing the part of his pal, Sam. Leonard also played the part of Joe Crunchmiller, Judy’s boyfriend in the comedy, The Judy Canova Show.

The Lineup, a police drama that premiered on CBS in 1950, also cast Leonard as a regular on the show and he also appeared with Ann Southern on the situation comedy, Maisie.

Other series which Sheldon Leonard appeared in include, Honest Harold, Adventures of Maisie, Screen Director's Playhouse, Old Gold Comedy Theater, Richard Diamond Private Detective, The Saint and several episodes of Suspense. >p>Sheldon Leonard realized much success as a director, writer and actor in film and television. His deep voice helped to land him the role of Nick the bartender in the classic movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Donna Reed and Jimmy Stewart. Sheldon later said that the only reason he agreed to take the part was to get enough money to purchase Dodger baseball tickets.

As a director, Leonard cast Bill Cosby in I Spy, a television series, making Cosby one of televisions first leading men. In 1992, Leonard was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame for receiving five Emmys for producing and directing. An interesting bit of trivia about Sheldon Leonard is that he was given a posthumous tribute in the television comedy, The Big Bang Theory – when one lead character was named Sheldon and the other, Leonard.

Leonard was married to Frances Babor for 66 years and they had two children – a son and daughter. Sheldon Leonard passed away on January 10, 1997 and Frances died two years later at age 91. She was buried beside her Sheldon.

Damon Runyon Theater, TheDamon Runyon Theater, The
Show Count: 52
Broadcast History: 1948 to the mid 1950s
Cast: John Brown, Anne Whitfield, Gerald Mohr, William Conrad, Alan Reed, Herb Vigran, Frank Lovejoy, Sheldon Leonard, Eddie Marr, Luis Van Rooten, Joe DuVal, Willard Waterman, Ed Begley, Jeff Chandler, Sam Edwards, Hans Conried, Parley Baer
Director: Richard Sanville
Producer: Vern Carstensen
Starring John Brown as Broadway, the narrator of Damon Runyon’s dramatic stories of old Manhattan New York and the gangster life in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The stories could be tragic, and often quite sad as you become moved by the strength of the characters.
Halls Of Ivy, TheHalls Of Ivy, The
Show Count: 84
Broadcast History: 6 June 1950 to 6 January 1952
Cast: Arthur Q. Bryan, Willard Waterman, Ronald Colman, Benita Hume Colman, Alan Reed, Herb Butterfield, Elizabeth Patterson, Gloria Gordon, Jerry Hausner, Paula Winslowe, Raymond Lawrence, Sheldon Leonard, Herb Vigran, Ken Christy, Jean Vander Pyl, Jeffrey Silver, Johnny McGovern, Charles Seel, Bob Seeney, Virginia Gregg, Rolfe Sedan
Director: Nat Wolff
Producer: Don Quinn, Nat Wolff
A situation comedy show, which follows the daily trials and tribulations of a college president in a small American College. It ran for two seasons from 1950 to 1952 and was aired at 8pm initially on Fridays and then on a Wednesday evening for the second season.
Judy Canova Show, TheJudy Canova Show, The
Show Count: 49
Broadcast History: 6 July 1943 to 27 June 1944, 13 January 1945 to 30 June 1951, and 29 December 1951 to 28 May 1953
Sponsor: Emerson Drug Company, General Motors, Colgate, Smith Brothers
Cast: Gale Gordon, Judy Canova, Mel Blanc, Verna Felton, Sharon Douglas, Hans Conried, Sheldon Leonard, Ruby Dandridge, Ruth Perrott, Joe Kearns, Gerald Mohr, Joseph Kearns, George Niese, Elvia Allman
Director: Joe Rines
Producer: Joe Rines
Martin & Lewis ShowMartin & Lewis Show
Show Count: 77
Broadcast History:
Sponsor: Chesterfield Cigarettes, Anacin
Cast: Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Ben Alexander, Sheldon Leonard, Flo McMichael
Director: Robert L. Redd, Dick Mack
Who could forget the incredible comic duo of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis!
Broadcast: 30th March 1951
Added: Apr 01 2011
Broadcast: 11th July 1946
Added: Jul 13 2007
Broadcast: 17th December 1944
Added: Dec 23 2005
Broadcast: November 21, 1949
Added: Jul 25 2020
Broadcast: 3rd May 1951
Added: Mar 05 2008