DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Jackie Gleason (aged 71)
American comedian, actor, and musician
John Herbert Gleason (February 26, 1916 – June 24, 1987) was an American comedian, actor, writer, composer and conductor. Developing a style and characters from growing up in Brooklyn, New York, he was known for his brash visual and verbal comedy, exemplified by his bus driver Ralph Kramdencharacter in the television series The Honeymooners. By filming the episodes with Electronicams, Gleason was later able to release the series in syndication, which increased its popularity over the years with new audiences. He also developed The Jackie Gleason Show, which maintained high ratings from the mid-1950s through 1970. After originating in New York City, filming moved to Miami Beach, Florida, in 1964 after Gleason took up permanent residence there.
DEATH: Gleason delivered a critically acclaimed performance as an infirm, acerbic, and somewhat Archie Bunker-like character in the Tom Hanks comedy-drama Nothing in Common (1986). This was Gleason’s final film role. During production, it was determined that he was suffering from terminal colon cancer, which had metastasized to his liver. Gleason was also suffering from phlebitis and diabetes. “I won’t be around much longer”, he told his daughter at dinner one evening after a day of filming. Gleason kept his medical problems private, although there were rumors that he was seriously ill. A year later, on June 24, 1987, Gleason died at age 71 at his Florida home.