BERMAN, SHELLEY (1926– ), U.S. actor, comedian, author. Berman was trained as an actor at the Goodman Theater in his native Chicago before joining stock companies in Chicago and New York. In the mid-1950s he joined the Chicago Compass Players, the famed performance group now known as The Second City. Berman's first breakthrough as a comedian came in 1957 when he began performing at Mr. Kelly's in Chicago. His success as a comedian, including 21 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, led to three best-selling comedy records and the distinction of winning the first Grammy Award for a non-musical recording, as well as becoming the first stand-up comedian to perform at Carnegie Hall. His stage credits include starring roles in the Broadway musical Inside Outside and All Around Shelley Berman and Neil *Simon's touring musical production Two by Two. On television Berman appeared on both variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Jack Paar Show, and scripted programs such as L.A. Law, Friends, Arliss, Walker, Texas Ranger, Dead Like Me, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, on which he played the role of Larry David's father. His major film credits include The Best Man, Every Home Should Have One, Divorce American Style, Teen Witch, and The Last Producer. Berman is the author of three books (Cleans and Dirtys, A Hotel is a Funny Place, and Up in the Air), two plays (First is Supper and Silver Sonata). He was also a professor in the University of Southern California's Professional Writing Program and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies.
[Walter Driver (2nd ed.)]