Born: Sept. 8, 1922, Yonkers, N.Y.
Early career: His talent for comedy was discovered when he was serving in the Coast Guard during World War II and got a part in a Coast Guard musical, Tars and Spars. He also appeared in the movie version, leading to a few other film roles and nightclub engagements. A 1948 Broadway revue called Make Mine Manhattan became his breakthrough hit.
TV beckons: Caesar’s first TV comedy-variety show, The Admiral Broadway Revue, premiered in February 1949. But it was off the air by June. Its fatal shortcoming: unimagined popularity. It was selling more Admiral television sets than the company could make, and Admiral, its exclusive sponsor, pulled out. But everyone was ready for Caesar’s subsequent efforts. Your Show of Shows, which debuted in February 1950, and Caesar’s Hour three years later reached as many as 60 million viewers weekly and earned its star $1 million annually.
At the movies: Occasional film appearances included It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Silent Movie, History of the World Part I and Grease.
Return to Broadway: In 1962, Caesar starred in the Neil Simon musical Little Me.