Sheldon Leonard

Producer

Sheldon Leonard Bershad was a film and television actor, producer, director, and writer.

As an actor, Leonard specialized in playing supporting characters, especially gangsters or "heavies", in films such as It's a Wonderful Life (1946; as bartender Nick), To Have and Have Not (1944), Guys and Dolls (1955), and Open Secret (1948). His trademark was his especially thick New York accent, usually delivered from the side of his mouth. In Decoy (1946), Leonard uses his "heavy" persona to create the hard-boiled police detective Joe Portugal.

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Sheldon Leonard Bershad was a film and television actor, producer, director, and writer.

As an actor, Leonard specialized in playing supporting characters, especially gangsters or "heavies", in films such as It's a Wonderful Life (1946; as bartender Nick), To Have and Have Not (1944), Guys and Dolls (1955), and Open Secret (1948). His trademark was his especially thick New York accent, usually delivered from the side of his mouth. In Decoy (1946), Leonard uses his "heavy" persona to create the hard-boiled police detective Joe Portugal.

Later in the 1950s and 1960s, he established a reputation as a producer of successful television series, including The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room For Daddy) (1953–64), The Andy Griffith Show (1960–68), Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. (1964–69), The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–66), and I Spy (1965–68). He also directed several TV series episodes, including four of the first eight episodes of the TV series Lassie (Season 1, 1954). Leonard also provided the voice of Linus the Lionhearted in a series of Post Crispy Critters cereal TV commercials in 1963-64, which led to a Linus cartoon series that aired on Saturday (and later, Sunday) mornings on CBS (1964–66) and ABC (1967–69). He also was briefly the star of his own television show Big Eddie (1975), where he played the owner of a large sports arena. The show lasted for only ten episodes.

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