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George Burns Biography

Birth Name:
Nathan Birnbaum
Birth Place:
New York, New York, United States
Actor, comedian, writer, producer

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


  • 1990Emmy-Outstanding Performance in Informational Programming: winner
  • 1984Emmy-Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program: nominated
  • 1978Emmy-Outstanding Special - Comedy-Variety or Music: nominated
  • 1975Oscar-Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: winner