Greene, Shecky

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GREENE, SHECKY (1926– ), U.S. comedian-actor. Greene is known as the top of Las Vegas' tuxedo-wearing, rim-shot comedians, often compared to Don *Rickles and Buddy *Hackett. Born Fred Sheldon Greenfield in Chicago, Ill., Greene served in the Navy and was discharged in 1944. He enrolled in Wright Junior College and planned to become a gym teacher. Over the summer he took a job as social director at a resort near Milwaukee called Oakton Manor. With no budget for performers, Greene began developing a stand-up act to entertain guests. When he returned to college, he continued his act in Chicago nightclubs. By the late 1940s, he was working at a club in New Orleans and then opened for Martha Raye in Miami Beach, making $500 a week. In 1953, after signing to play Chez Paree in Chicago as Ann Sothern's opening act, Greene took an offer from the Golden Hotel in Reno, Nevada. Before long he was playing Las Vegas and his career as a stand-up comedian grew with the city. His comic style was as wild as the city he played in, using ad-libbing, barbs, impressions, and song parodies. His drinking and violent outbursts on the casino floor were tolerated, even encouraged, and became the stuff of legend. Greene played wisecracking Pvt. Braddock in the television series Combat! (1962–63) and appeared on such television shows as Laverne and Shirley, The A-Team, and Northern Exposure. His film roles include History of the World: Part i and Splash. He stopped drinking in the 1990s and his stand-up career was only slowed by throat surgery, cancer surgery, and a hip transplant.

[Adam Wills (2nd ed.)]

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Greene, Shecky

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