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Shawn, Dick


SHAWN, DICK (1923–1987), U.S. actor. Originally from Buffalo, ny, Shawn (né Richard Schulefand) began his comedy career during World War ii while serving with the Army. He moved to New York City after winning a University of Miami talent show and appearing on the television show Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts. By 1955 Shawn was performing at New York's Palace Theater, had made guest appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, and was performing at Las Vegas nightclubs. He made his film debut in the 1956 movie The Opposite Sex. In 1960, he signed on with 20th Century Fox and starred in their film The Wizard of Baghdad. In this satire on the Arabian Nights, Shawn played a laidback genie. The same year, he acted with fellow comedian Ernie Kovacs in Wake Me When It's Over. Three years later, he had a role in the all-star comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). Shawn's most famous role was that of a hippie actor named Lorenzo St. DuBois (L.S.D.) who is cast as a singing Adolf Hitler in Mel Brooks' 1968 comedy The Producers. In one scene, Shawn is credited for inventing the "high five" when, instead of putting out his hand for fellow actor David Patch to "give him five," he held it up and Patch slapped it. Other Shawn movies include Way … Way Out (1966), Penelope (1966), Looking Up (1977), Beer (1985), and Maid to Order (1987). Shawn was also highly regarded for his one-man stage show The Second Greatest Entertainer in the Whole Wide World, during which he lay motionless on stage during the entire intermission (1985). Shawn's final movie, Rented Lips (1988), came out after his death.

[Susannah Howland (2nd ed.)]

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