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RANDALL, TONY (1920-2004)

Actor Tony Randall was the stage name for Leonard Rosenberg, born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, February 26, 1920. He graduated from Tulsa Central High School and Northwestern University, where he studied speech and drama. After moving to New York to attend Columbia University, he studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York City and began acting in neighborhood productions.

In 1941 Randall made his Broadway debut in the play A Circle of Chalk. After serving a stint in the U.S. Army during World War II, he directed and acted in summer stock plays in Washington D.C. His movie debut came in the 1957 feature Oh Men, Oh Women. He was a pioneer in early television, starring first in game and panel shows and the weekly serial Mr. Peepers.

A natural for comedy, Randall starred in more than twenty-five movies, cast in a large portion of comedy roles opposite Marilyn Monroe, Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds, and Rock Hudson. From 1970 through 1975 he starred with Jack Klugman in the highly successful television show The Odd Couple, winning an Emmy for the show's last season. He also starred in The Tony Randall Show from 1976 to 1978.

In the 1980s Randall established the National Actors Theatre in New York. In 1995, three years after the death of his wife, Florence, he married actress Heather Harlan, and the union produced two children. Tony Randall died of pneumonia following heart surgery on May 17, 2004 in New York City.

SEE ALSO: JAMES GARNER, FILM IMAGES OF OKLAHOMA, DAN ROWAN, OKLAHOMA AND HOLLYWOOD.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Tony Randall," Vertical File, Oklahoma Heritage Association, Oklahoma City. International Motion Picture Almanac (Larchmont, N.Y.: Quigley Publishing Company, Inc., 2000).

Bob Burke

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