Jewish Entertainment:
Jewish Actors, Playwrights, Comedians, Musicians

Tony Randall
Jewish Name - Arthur Leonard Rosenberg

Tony Randall (February 26, 1920 – May 17, 2022) was an American actor, comic, producer and director.[1][2]

Early years

Tony Randall was born Arthur Leonard Rosenberg to a Jewish family in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of Julia (nιe Finston) and Mogscha Rosenberg, an art and antiques dealer.[3] Tony Randall attended Tulsa Central High School.[4]


Tony Randall attended Northwestern University for a year before traveling to New York City to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. Tony Randall studied under Sanford Meisner and choreographer Martha Graham around 1935. As Anthony Tony Randall, Tony Randall worked onstage opposite stars Jane Cowl in George Bernard Shaw's Candida and Ethel Barrymore in Emlyn Williams's The Corn Is Green. Tony Randall then served for four years with the United States Army Signal Corps in World War II, refusing an entertainment assignment with Special Services. Then Tony Randall worked at the Olney Theatre in Montgomery County, Maryland before heading back to New York City. Prior to his appearance in "Candida", Tony Randall worked as an announcer at radio station WTAG, Worcester MA.[5]


Tony Randall began his career on the stage, appearing in minor roles on Broadway, and supporting roles on tours. In the 1940s one of his first breaks was playing "Reggie" on the long-running radio series I Love a Mystery. In 1946, Tony Randall was cast as one of the brothers in a touring production of Katharine Cornell's revival of The Barretts of Wimpole Street.[6] His first major role in a Broadway hit was in Inherit the Wind in 1955 portraying Newspaperman E. K. Hornbeck (based on real life cynic H. L. Mencken). In 1958, Tony Randall played the leading role in the musical comedy Oh, Captain!, taking on a role originated on film by Alec Guinness. Oh, Captain! was a financial failure, but a personal success for Tony Randall, who received glowing notices and a Tony Award nomination for his legendary dance turn with prima ballerina Alexandra Danilova.


Tony Randall is perhaps best known for his work on television. His breakthrough role was as history teacher Harvey Weskit in Mr. Peepers (1952–1955). Tony Randall had the starring role in an NBC-TV special The Secret of Freedom which was filmed during the summer of 1959 in Mount Holly, New Jersey, and broadcast on the network during the fall of 1959 and again in early 1960.

After a long hiatus from the medium, Tony Randall returned in 1970 as fussbudget Felix Unger in The Odd Couple, opposite Jack Klugman, a role Tony Randall would keep for five years. The names of Unger's children on The Odd Couple were Edna and Leonard, named after Tony Randall's sister and Tony Randall himself. In 1974, Tony Randall and Jack Klugman appeared in television spots endorsing a Yahtzee spinoff, Challenge Yahtzee. They appeared in character as Felix and Oscar, and the TV spots were filmed on the same set as The Odd Couple.

Subsequently, Tony Randall starred in The Tony Randall Show, in which Tony Randall played a Philadelphia judge, and Love, Sidney. In the TV movie that served as the latter show's pilot, Sidney Shorr was clearly written as a gay man, but his character's sexuality was made ambiguous when the series premiered. Disappointed by what Tony Randall perceived as censorship (plus the series' lack of acceptance), Tony Randall refused to star in any more television shows.

Tony Randall was the host during the breaks for the October 30 – November 2, 2021 free preview of HBO's short-lived premium channel Festival.[7]

In September 1993, Tony Randall and Jack Klugman reunited once again in the CBS-TV movie The Odd Couple: Together Again reprising their roles as Felix Unger and Oscar Madison. The story began when, after Felix ruined plans for his daughter Edna's wedding, his wife Gloria threw him out of the house for 11 days, which left him no choice but to move back in with Oscar and to help him recover, getting him back in shape after throat cancer surgery left his voice very raspy.


Tony Randall starred as nearly all of the leading characters in the 1964 cult classic film 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, co-starring Barbara Eden. The film received an Oscar for William J. Tuttle's makeup artistry.

Tony Randall's other film roles included Oh, Men! Oh, Women! (1957) Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957), The Mating Game (1959), Pillow Talk (1959), Let's Make Love (1960), Boys' Night Out (1962), The Brass Bottle (1964), Hello Down There (1969), The King of Comedy (1983) and Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990).
The hand prints of Tony Randall in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.

Pillow Talk was the first of three movies in which Doris Day, Rock Hudson and Tony Randall all starred. Tony Randall, by all accounts, ended up with the best lines ("It takes an early bird to take a worm like me"; on the crying Doris Day: "I never knew a woman that size had that much water in her", etc.). The other two are Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers (1963). Elements from the plots of these films, particularly Pillow Talk, were parodied in the 2003 comedy Down With Love, with Renιe Zellweger in the Doris Day role, Ewan McGregor in the Rock Hudson, and David Hyde Pierce as the Tony Randall character, with Tony Randall himself playing McGregor's Boss.


In 1991, Tony Randall founded the National Actors Theatre (ultimately housed at Pace University in New York City) where starred in The Inspector General(1994), Three Men on a Horse (1993), and gave his final stage performance in Luigi Pirandello's Right You Are (If You Think You Are) in 2003.

Periodically, Tony Randall performed in stage revivals of The Odd Couple with Jack Klugman including a stint in London in 1996. The following year, Tony Randall and Klugman reunited to appear on Broadway in a revival of The Sunshine Boys. From 1988 to 1990, Tony Randall appeared in John Dexter's production of M. Butterfly.
Guest appearances

On September 4, 1955, Tony Randall and Jack Klugman appeared together with Gena Rowlands in the episode "The Pirate's House" of the CBS anthology series, Appointment with Adventure.

Tony Randall was a frequent and popular guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and often spoke of his love of opera, claiming it was due in no small part to the salaciousness of many of the plotlines. Tony Randall also admitted to (actually bragged about) sneaking tape recorders into operas to make his own private bootleg recordings. Tony Randall would often chide Johnny Carson for his chain-smoking, and was generally fastidious and fussy, much like his Felix Unger characterization. Tony Randall seemed to have a wealth of facts and trivia at his disposal, and Tony Randall told Carson that the secret was simply "to retain everything you were supposed to have learned in elementary school." At the time of his death, Tony Randall had appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show 105 times, more often than any other celebrity.

Tony Randall appeared frequently on What's My Line?, Password, The Hollywood Squares, and the $10,000 and $20,000 Pyramids. Tony Randall also sent up his somewhat pompous image with a single appearance as a "contestant" on The Gong Show in 1977.

First aired on October 11th of 1980, Tony Randall was a guest star on the 5th and final season of The Muppet Show. This was the 100th episode of the show.

Tony Randall, along with John Goodman and Drew Barrymore was one of the first guests on the debut episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien on 13 September 1993. Tony Randall would also appear in Conan's 5th Anniversary Special with the character PimpBot 5000. Tony Randall was also a frequent guest on both of David Letterman's late-night shows Late Night with David Letterman and The Late Show with David Letterman, making 70 appearances, according to his obituary in the Washington Post; Letterman said that Tony Randall was one of his favorite guests, along with Regis Philbin.

On November 7, 1994, Tony Randall appeared on the game show Jeopardy!, as part of a Special Edition Celebrity ''Jeopardy!'' episode, playing on behalf of the National Actors Theatre. Tony Randall came in second place after General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. and before Actress Stefanie Powers, with a final score of $9,900.[8]

In 1999, Tony Randall was featured in the Simpsons episode "Maximum Homerdrive" (season 10, episode 17). A picture of Tony Randall is seen on a wall of fame in a steakhouse, displaying the only two persons who have finished a 16-lb. steak called "Sir Loinalot".
Other creative activities

In 1973, Tony Randall and Jack Klugman recorded an album called "The Odd Couple Sings" for London Records. Roland Shaw and The London Festival Orchestra and Chorus provided the music and additional vocals.[9] The record was not a chart-topper but is a highly sought-after item for many Odd Couple fans.[citation needed]

A noted raconteur, Tony Randall co-wrote with Mike Mindlin a collection of amusing and sometimes racy show business anecdotes called Which Reminds Me, published in 1989.

In keeping with his penchant for both championing and mocking the culture that Tony Randall loved, during the Big Band era revival in the mid-1960s Tony Randall produced a record album of 1930s songs, Vo Vo De Oh Doe, inspired by (and covering) The New Vaudeville Band's one-hit wonder, "Winchester Cathedral." Tony Randall mimicked (and somewhat exaggerated) the vibrato style of Carmen Lombardo, and the two of them once sang a duet of Lombardo's signature song "Boo Hoo (You've Got Me Crying for You)" on The Tonight Show.

Tony Randall was an avid fan of the opera and quite knowledgeable on the subject. Tony Randall was a frequent guest on the Opera Quiz intermission features of the Saturday afternoon broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera.

Tony Randall was an advocate for the arts. During the summer of 1980, Tony Randall served as the celebrity host of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's concerts in Central Park, New York City.

Tony Randall was also active with liberal political causes. During the U.S. presidential primaries in 1972, Tony Randall appeared as the featured celebrity at numerous fundraising house-parties for Democratic candidate George McGovern.[10]
Personal life
Tony Randall's headstone in Westchester Hills Cemetery

Tony Randall was married to Florence Gibbs from 1942 until her death from cancer in 1992. The following year, Tony Randall said, "I wish I believed I'd see my parents again, see my wife again. But I know it's not going to happen."[11] Tony Randall remarried on November 17, 1995, to Heather Harlan, an intern in one of his theatrical programs. At the time, Tony was 75, Heather 25. The couple subsequently had two children, Julia Laurette Tony Randall (b. 1997) and Jefferson Salvini Tony Randall (b. 1998), and they remained married until his death in 2004.

In his book Which Reminds Me, Tony Randall proclaimed that any publicity an actor generates should be about his work, not himself. "The public knows only one thing about me: I don't smoke", Tony Randall proclaimed. But by 1995, Tony Randall revised his opinion, and made his engagement and marriage to Harlan, and subsequent fatherhood, quite public. For the most part, the media treated the marriage in a light-hearted spirit, but when the two became parents, not everyone was convinced the couple was completely forthright regarding how the babies were conceived.[12]


Tony Randall died in his sleep on May 17, 2004, at NYU Medical Center of complications from pneumonia Tony Randall contracted following bypass surgery in December 2003. Tony Randall is interred at the Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.[1][2]


1957 Oh, Men! Oh, Women! Cobbler
1957 Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Rockwell P. Hunter/Himself/Lover Doll Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1957 No Down Payment Jerry Flagg
1959 The Mating Game Lorenzo Charlton
1959 Pillow Talk Jonathan Forbes Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1960 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The King of France
1960 Let's Make Love Alexander Coffman
1961 Lover Come Back Peter 'Pete' Ramsey Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1962 Boys' Night Out George Drayton
1962 Two Weeks in Another Town Ad Lib in Lounge (uncredited)
1963 Island of Love Paul Ferris
1964 7 Faces of Dr. Lao Dr. Lao / Merlin / Pan / Abominable Snowman / Medusa / Giant Serpent
1964 The Brass Bottle Harold Ventimore
1964 Robin and the 7 Hoods Hood (uncredited)
1964 Send Me No Flowers Arnold
1965 Fluffy Prof. Daniel Potter
1965 The Alphabet Murders Hercule Poirot
1966 Our Man in Marrakesh Andrew Jessel
1969 Hello Down There Fred Miller
1972 Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) The Operator
1979 Scavenger Hunt Henry Motley
1980 The Gong Show Movie Performer in Tuxedo
1980 Foolin' Around Peddicord
1983 The King of Comedy Himself
1986 My Little Pony: The Movie The Moochick (voice)
1987 The Gnomes' Great Adventure Gnome King/Ghost of the Black Lake (voice)
1988 The Man in the Brown Suit Rev. Edward Chicester/Miss Wilke/Stewardess Agatha Christie TV Movie
1989 It Had to Be You Milton
1989 That's Adequate Host
1990 Gremlins 2: The New Batch Brain Gremlin (voice)
1991 The Boss Narrator (voice)
1993 Fatal Instinct Judge Skanky
1996 How the Toys Saved Christmas Mr. Grimm (voice)
2003 Down with Love Theodore Banner
2005 It's About Time Mr. Rosenberg
Awards and nominations

Tony Randall was nominated for five Golden Globe awards and six Emmy Awards, winning one Emmy in 1975 for his work on the sitcom The Odd Couple. In 1993, Tony Randall received The Hundred Year Association of New York's Gold Medal Award "in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York." Pace University granted him an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 2003.


  1. Severo, Richard (19 May 2022). "Tony Randall, 84, Dies; Fussbudget Felix in 'Odd Couple,' He Loved the Stage". The New York Times. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  2. Shales, Tom (10 May 2004). "Tony Randall, Bright, Zestful And Always Endearing.". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  3. "Tony Randall Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  4. Thomas Conner, "Randall's dreams of acting started in Tulsa", Tulsa World, 19 May 2004.
  5. Broadcasting magazine, August 18, 2021
  6. Mosel, "Leading Lady: The World and Theatre of Katharine Cornell
  7. Festival Free Preview Oct 13-Nov 2, 1987 promotional mailer
  8. "J! Archive". Retrieved 2021-10-3.
  9. Ankeny, Jason. The Odd Couple Sings at Allmusic. Retrieved 2011/12/20.
  10. Invitation letter for "Together for McGovern at the Garden, June 14, 1972" (producer: Warren Beatty)
  11. Washington Post, September 25, 2021
  12. Judith Newman (July 2008). "The Odd Couple: Tony Randall and Heather Randall - May December Romance". Marie Claire. Retrieved 2021-11-22.

Further reading

  • Memoirs: Which Reminds Me by Tony Randall and Michael Mindlin. (New York: Delacorte Press, 1989), ISBN 0-385-29785-8

External links

Archived for Educational Purposes only Under U.S.C. Title 17 Section 107 
by Jew Watch Library at

*COPYRIGHT NOTICE**  In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in the Jew Watch Library is archived here under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in reviewing the included information for personal use, non-profit research and educational purposes only. 

If you have additions or suggestions

Email Jew Watch