Fast Facts

  • Ninth of 12 children.
  • His father, a part-time cantor, died when George was 7.
  • Left school in the fourth grade to go into show business.
  • Met Gracie Allen in 1923 and began performing with her.
  • Originally played the comedian to Gracie's "straight man," but changed the routine around once it was clear Gracie was getting the bigger laughs.
  • The duo starred in a weekly radio show from 1932 until '50, then starred in TV's The Burns and Allen Show from 1950 until '58, when she retired.
  • Immersed himself in work after Gracie died in 1964.
  • He was 80 when he won a supporting-actor Oscar for The Sunshine Boys.
  • Inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1988; was a Kennedy Center honoree that same year.


  • 1984, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1976, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Winner
  • 1990, Emmy — Outstanding Performance in Informational Programming: Winner
  • 1990, Grammy — Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording: Winner
  • 1975, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Winner
  • 1978, Emmy — Outstanding Special - Comedy-Variety or Music: Nominee
  • 1994, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Life Achievement Award: Winner


  • Hannah Siegel — Ex-wife
  • Gracie Allen — Wife (deceased)
  • Ronald Jon Burns — Son
  • Sandra Jean Luckman — Daughter


  • Birth Name: Nathan Birnbaum
  • Birth Place: New York, New York, United States
  • Died: March 9, 1996
  • Profession: Actor, Comedian, Writer, Producer

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