Birthday: September 18, 1920 Birth
Place: Newark, New Jersey, USA Height: 5' 9"
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A former prizefighter, nightclub bouncer and lifeguard, Jack Warden took to the stage after serving as a paratrooper in World War II. Warden's first professional engagement was with the Margo Jones repertory troupe in 1947. He made both his Broadway and film debuts in 1951, spending the next few years specializing in blunt military types and short-tempered bullies. Among his most notable screen roles of the 1950s was the homicidally bigoted factory foreman in Edge of the City and the impatient Juror #7 in Twelve Angry Men (both 1957). He was Oscar-nominated for his portrayal of the cuckolded Lester in Warren Beatty's Shampoo (1975) and for his work as eternally flustered sports promoter Max Corkle in another Beatty vehicle, Heaven Can Wait (1978). He has also played the brusque, bluff President in Being There (1978); senile, gun-wielding judge Ray Ford in ...And Justice For All (1979); the twin auto dealers—one good, one bad—in Used Cars (1980); Paul Newman's combination leg-man and conscience in The Verdict (1982); shifty convenience store owner Big Ben in the two Problem Child films of the early 1990s; the not-so-dearly departed in Passed Away (1992); and Broadway high-roller Julian Marx in Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway (1994). Extensive though his stage and screen credits may be, Warden has been just as busy on television, winning an Emmy for his portrayal of George Halas in Brian's Song (1969) and playing such other historical personages as Cornelius Ryan (1981's A Private Battle) and Mark Twain (1984's Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues). Barely stopping for air, Jack Warden has also starred or co-starred on the weekly TV series Mister Peepers (1953-55), The Asphalt Jungle (1961), Wackiest Ship in the Army (1965), NYPD (1967-68), Jigsaw John (1975), The Bad News Bears (1979) and Crazy Like a Fox (1984-85); and, had the pilot episode sold, Jack Warden was to have been the star in a 1979 revival of Topper. Though this was not to be for Warden, the gruff actor's age and affectionately sour demeanor found him essaying frequent albiet minor feature roles through the new millennium. Remaining in the public eye withn appearances in While You Were Sleeping (1995), Ed (1996), Bullworth (1998) and The Replacements (2000), the former welterweight fighter remained as dependable as ever when it came to stepping in front of the lens.
Moved to Louisville, Kentucky, as a youth to live with his grandparents. He graduated from Du Pont Manuel High School in Louisville.
Boxed as a welterweight under the name "Johnny Costello" in his youth.
Fought on the same card as Charles Durning in Madison Square Garden.
He served in the U.S. Navy from 1938-1941 then joined the Merchant Marine as water tender in the engine room but disliked convoy duty because of Axis aircraft attacks and his location 30 decks below the main deck -- this, as he says, ended his "romance with the life of a sailor." He left the Merchant Marine in 1942, joined the Army and became a platoon sergeant and parachute jumpmaster in the 101st Airborne. While hospitalized with a leg injury sustained in a jump, Warden read a play written by Clifford Odets and decided to be come an actor.
Fought in The Battle of the Bulge during WWII.
Separated from wife Vanda Dupre some time in the mid 1970s. However, they never got divorced and were still legally married at the time of his death.
Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Actors Branch)
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