Name at birth: Mendel Berlinger
Milton Berle was the first great superstar of the TV age, and the undisputed king of the medium in the early 1950s. His variety show Texaco Star Theater (later The Milton Berle Show) ran from 1948-56, with ringleader Berle often wearing women's gowns and other outrageous costumes; his popularity earned him the nicknames "Mr. Television" and "Uncle Miltie." Berle got his start in vaudeville, touring as a stand-up comic and eventually appearing with the Ziegfeld Follies. After his own show ended Berle made hundreds of guest appearances on TV, usually waving his ever-present cigar, and starred in movie comedies like It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963, playing Ethel Merman's son-in-law) and Who's Minding the Mint (1967, with Joey Bishop). He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1984.
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