Shelley Berman, comedian-bard of everyday life, has died

Shelley Berman dead

Shelley Berman dead

But loyal WNOP-AM listeners will remember the iconic 1960s comedian - who died Friday at 92 at his California home of complications from Alzheimer's - from the station identification spots he recorded for the Newport jazz station that aired bits from comedy albums. Coming from the golden era of comedy alongside the likes of Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce and Bob Newhart, he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show more than 20 times and became famous for his "sit-down" brand of comedy in which he sat on a barstool and told amusing stories while miming a telephone. His 1959 record Inside Shelley Berman made history as the first comedy album to be certified gold and the first non-musical record to snag a Grammy Award. And once he had established himself as a comedian, he went on to appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show more than 20 times. Berman is perhaps most famous for playing Larry's father Nat on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. In 2008, Berman was nominated for an Emmy ― Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series ― for his work on the show.

"I had dreams of being an actor", he said in a 1960 interview. I was not, in the strict sense of the word, a comedian. "Along the way, I read and appreciated poetry, but never really tried my hand at writing it until late in my "other" career, teaching writing in USC's Master of Professional Writing program".

His career came to a halt in 2014, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, an illness that he and his family felt important to create awareness about.

In 1962, Berman participated in NBC's documentary-style television show Comedian Backstage, where cameras followed him as he prepared for and performed his nightclub act.

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Along with Bob Newhart and Lenny Bruce, Shelley Berman helped change the tone and tenor of American humor.

His other memorable roles include Adam Sandler's father in "You Don't Mess with the Zohan" and the semi-senile Judge Robert Sanders on "Boston Legal".

Berman is survived by his wife, Sarah, whom he'd been married to for 70 years, as well as by his daughter, Rachel, and his two grandsons.

His son Joshua, months shy of his 13th birthday, died in the mid-1970s from brain cancer.

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