|Name:||Sanford Irving "Sandy" Baron|
|Born:||May 5, 1937|
|Died:||January 21, 2001|
|Place of death:||Van Nuys, CA|
|Occupation:||TV Personality, Actor|
|Known for:||His stand-up comic career|
Life and careerEdit
Baron was born Sanford Beresofsky (Sanford Irving Beresofsky) in Brooklyn, New York, and changed his name while a student at Brooklyn College, taking his inspiration from the nearby Barron's Bookstore. He started his career working in the Catskill Mountains resorts when they were synonymous with the "Borscht Belt" brand of Jewish humor on which Baron made his mark. He then moved on to the Compass Players Improv Comedy group in the late 1950s.
He made his Broadway debut in Tchin-Tchin in 1962. He also appeared in many other Broadway plays, hits as well as flops, including Autoro Ui, Generations and Lenny (Los Angeles production); replacing Cliff Gorman in the lead role of Lenny Bruce on Broadway.
In 1964 he established a reputation for himself as part of That Was The Week That Was and as the opening act for Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme at the Copa Cabana in New York City. In the 1966-1967 season, Baron co-starred with Will Hutchins in the NBC sitcom Hey, Landlord about an apartment complex in Manhattan. In the 1970s, he made regular appearances on talk shows like The Mike Douglas Show and Merv Griffin, and multiple guest appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Sandy was also co-host of the The Della Reese Show and hosted a number of television talk shows including A.M. New York and Mid-Morning LA. In addition, he was the host of the pilot for Hollywood Squares and often appeared as a celebrity contestant on this and other games shows.
He acted in many television programs, including a notable role in Seinfeld as Jack Klompus; starred in Law & Order; and as Grandpa in a 1996 TV-movie revival of The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas. His appearances in feature films included Sweet November (1968), If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969), The Out-of-Towners (1970), Birdy (1984), and others. Along with several of his contemporaries, Baron played himself in the opening scene of Woody Allen's Broadway Danny Rose (1984); he also narrated this film.
Baron wrote music too, starting out at the Brill Building in New York with 1961 songs like Flying Blue Angels and Adam Wade's The Writing on The Wall. Later co-writing Lou Rawls hit A Natural Man with Bobby Hebb (Sunny) in 1971. Sandy wrote and recorded a number of comedy albums including The Race Race and God Save the Queens co-written with Reverend James R. McGraw, editor/writer of Dick Gregory's books.
Throughout his career he opened for Neil Diamond, The Fifth Dimension, Bobby Vinton, Anthony Newley, Diana Ross and others. He was married to model/actress Geraldine Baron, writer/activist Mary Jo Webster Baron, and screen writer Stephanie Ericsson; all ending in divorce. He had no children.
Baron died of emphysema in Van Nuys, in the San Fernando Valley of southern California. A memorial celebration was held July 22, 2001 at Hollywood's Ivar Theatre.