Hal Linden

Hal Linden

Birth name: Harold Lipshitz
Born: March 20, 1931
Age: 92
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.
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Hal Linden (born March 20, 1931) is an American stage and screen actor, television director and musician.

Linden began his career as a big band musician and singer in the 1950s. After a stint in the United States Army, he began an acting career where he first worked in summer stock and off-Broadway productions. Linden found success on Broadway when he replaced Sydney Chaplin in the musical Bells Are Ringing. In 1971, he won a Best Actor Tony Award for his portrayal of Mayer Rothschild in the musical The Rothschilds.

In 1975, he landed his best-known role as the title character in the television comedy series Barney Miller. The role earned him seven Primetime Emmy Award and three Golden Globe Award nominations. During the series' run, Linden also hosted two educational series, Animals, Animals, Animals and FYI. He won two special Daytime Emmy Awards for the latter series. Linden won a third Daytime Emmy Award for a guest-starring role on CBS Schoolbreak Special in 1995. Linden has since continued his career on the stage, in films and guest-starring roles on television. He released his first album of pop and jazz standards, It's Never Too Late, in 2011.


Early life

Hal Linden was born Harold Lipshitz on March 20, 1931, in New York City. He is the youngest son of Frances (née Rosen) and Charles Lipshitz, a Lithuanian Jew who immigrated to the United States in 1910 and later owned his own printing shop. His older brother, Bernard, became a professor of music at Bowling Green State University. Raised in The Bronx, Linden attended the High School of Music and Art and went on to study music at Queens College, City University of New York. He later enrolled in Baruch College and then City College of New York where he received a Bachelor of Arts in business.

During his youth, Linden aspired to be a big band bandleader. Before embarking on a career in music, he decided to change his name stating, "'Swing and Sway with Harold Lipshitz' just didn't parse." He decided on the name Hal Linden, after seeing the name on the water tower while passing through Linden, New Jersey." During the 1950s, he toured with Sammy Kaye, Bobby Sherwood, and other big bands of the era. Linden played the saxophone and clarinet and also sang. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1952 where he was sent to Fort Belvoir and played in the United States Army Band. While in Fort Belvoir, a friend recommended that he see the touring production of Guys and Dolls playing in Washington, D.C. After seeing the show, Linden decided to become an actor. He was discharged in 1954.


Linden found success after replacing Sydney Chaplin in the Broadway production of Bells Are Ringing in 1958. He made a further breakthrough on the New York stage in 1962 when he was cast as Billy Crocker in the revival of Cole Porter's Anything Goes.

Linden's career slowed in the 1960s. During this time, he dubbed English dialogue for various foreign films, did voiceover work for commercials and sang jingles. His career was revived in the 1970s when he was cast as Mayer Rothschild in the 1971 musical The Rothschilds. The role earned him a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. In 1973, he co-starred opposite Tony Lo Bianco in the NBC television film Mr. Inside/Mr. Outside. The film was intended to be the pilot for a proposed series but was not picked up by the network.

Barney Miller

In 1974, Linden landed the starring role in the ABC television police comedy Barney Miller. Linden portrayed the eponymous captain of the beleaguered 12th Precinct in bohemian Greenwich Village, dealing with mordant wit, compassion, and occasional frustration at the comedy-of-manners misfits brought in for arrest or questioning, or who came to lodge a complaint or stop by on bureaucratic business or to just say hi. He earned seven Emmy Award nominations for his work on the series, one for each season. Linden also earned four Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. The series aired from 1975 to 1982. Linden later said that leaving Broadway to work on Barney Miller was his most irrational act and also one of his best decisions.

During the run of Barney Miller, Linden served as the narrator and host of the ABC children's shows Animals, Animals, Animals and FYI. He won two Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Individual Achievement for his host work on FYI. in 1984 and 1985.

Later career

After Barney Miller ended its run, Linden appeared in several television films including I Do! I Do! (1982), the television adaptation of the musical of the same name, and Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land (1983). In 1984, he costarred in the television film Second Edition. The film was intended to be a series but was not picked up by CBS. The following year, Linden portrayed studio head Jack L. Warner in the television biopic My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn.

Linden returned to episodic television in the NBC series Blacke's Magic in 1986. He played the lead character, Alexander Blacke, a magician who solves mysteries with the help of his father Leonard (Harry Morgan), a retired carnival magician and sometimes confidence man. The series was canceled after 13 episodes. In 1988, he costarred in the romantic comedy A New Life, directed by Alan Alda. In 1992, Linden tried his hand at television again with the leading role in the comedy-drama series Jack's Place. In the series, Linden portrayed Jack Evans, a retired jazz musician who ran a restaurant that was frequented by patrons who learned lessons about love. The show was often compared to the The Love Boat by critics as it featured a different weekly guest star. The series premiered as a mid-season replacement but did well enough in the ratings for ABC to order additional episodes. Viewership soon declined and ABC chose to cancel the series in 1993. The next year, Linden appeared in the CBS sitcom The Boys Are Back. That series was also low rated and canceled after 18 episodes. In 1995, Linden won his third Daytime Emmy Award for his 1994 guest-starring role as Rabbi Markovitz on CBS Schoolbreak Special.

In 1996, Linden had a supporting role in the television film The Colony, opposite John Ritter and June Lockhart. The role was a departure for Linden as he played the villainous head of a home owner's association of a gated community. He continued his career in the late 1990s and 2000s with guest roles on Touched by an Angel, The King of Queens, Gilmore Girls, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Hot in Cleveland. He also narrated episodes of Biography and The American Experience, and voiced the role of "Dr. Selig" on the animated series The Zeta Project. In 2002, Linden received a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars.

Linden continues to have an active stage career. He appeared in the Toronto production of Tuesdays with Morrie in 2009. In July 2011, he appeared opposite Christina Pickles in the Colony Theatre's production of On Golden Pond. Linden also starred in Under My Skin, which premiered at the Pasadena Playhouse on September 19, 2012 and ran through October 2012. In 2013, Linden guest starred in an episode of comedy series The Mindy Project. In 2014, Linden guest-starred in an episode of comedy series 2 Broke Girls. In 2015, he is appearing at the Old Globe Theatre in the West Coast premiere of The Twenty Seventh Man starring as Yevgeny Zunser.


After the success of Barney Miller, Linden decided to revive his music career with a nightclub act. In his act, Linden plays the clarinet, performs pop and Broadway standards backed by a big band, and discusses his life and career. He has continued touring with various nightclub and cabaret acts since the early 1980s.

In March 2011, he began touring with his cabaret show An Evening with Hal Linden: I'm Old Fashioned. The show, which ran through 2012, was later released on DVD. In April 2011, Linden released his first album, It's Never Too Late. The album features a collection of jazz, Broadway and pop standards that Linden began recording around the time he was touring in the early 1980s. Due to a lack of interest, he shelved the songs. Linden decided to finish the album on the advice of his tour booker.

Personal life

Linden is the spokesman for the Jewish National Fund, a position he has held since 1997.

Linden met dancer Fran Martin while doing summer stock in 1955. They married in 1958 and had four children. Martin died in 2010.

Broadway credits

Date Production Role
November 29, 1956 - March 7, 1959 Bells Are Ringing Jeff Moss (Replacement)
December 16, 1960 - June 3, 1961 Wildcat Matt (Replacement)
November 10 - November 21, 1964 Something More! Dick
October 17, 1965 - June 11, 1966 On a Clear Day You Can See Forever Dr. Mark Bruckner, Edward Moncrief
April 11, 1967 - January 13, 1968 Illya Darling No Face
April 4 - April 27, 1968 The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N Yissel Fishbein
October 16, 1969 - January 10, 1970 Three Men on a Horse Charlie
October 19, 1970 - January 1, 1972 The Rothschilds Mayer Rothschild
January 26 - January 29, 1972 The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window Sidney Brustein
December 9, 1973 - February 3, 1974 The Pajama Game Sid Sorokin
November 19, 1985 - January 17, 1988 I'm Not Rappaport Nat (Replacement)
March 18, 1993 - July 16, 1994 The Sisters Rosensweig Mervyn Kant (Replacement)
April 29 - August 2002 Cabaret Herr Schultz (Replacement)
April 24 - May 13, 2001 The Gathering Gabe


Year Title Role Notes
1960 Bells Are Ringing Singer of "The Midas Touch" Uncredited
1964 That Man from Rio Voice role English version
Alternative title: L'Homme de Rio
1967 Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster Akira Takarada (voice) English version
1968 Destroy All Monsters Akira Kubo (voice) English version
1979 When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? Richard Ethridge
1980 Deathquake Narrator English version
1988 A New Life Mel Arons
1996 Just Friends Mr. Barton
1997 The Others Principal Richard Meltzer
1997 Out to Sea Mac Valor
1999 Jump Shrink
2001 Dumb Luck Blaine Mitchell
2002 Time Changer The Dean
2005 Freezerburn Roderick Carr the Cult Leader
2008 Light Years Away Grandpa Sommers
Year Title Role Notes
1957 Producers' Showcase Episode: "Ruggles of Red Gap"
1963 Car 54, Where Are You? Assistant DA Clark (uncredited) Episode: "Joan Crawford Didn't Say No"
1969 Search for Tomorrow Larry Carter Unknown episodes
1970 Hastings Corner District Attorney Corey Honker/Morey Honker Television movie
1972 Circle of Fear David Wells Segment: "Elegy for a Vampire"
1973 Mr. Inside/Mr. Outside Det. Lou Isaacs Television movie
1974-1982 Barney Miller Capt. Barney Miller 171 episodes
1976 The F.B.I Abel Norton "The Confession"
1976 The Love Boat Andrew Canaan Television movie
1976 How to Break Up a Happy Divorce Tony Bartlett Television movie
1984 Dorothy Hamill Presents Winners Variety special
1980 Father Figure Howard Television movie
1982 I Do! I Do! He (Michael) Television movie
1983 Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land Josh Gilliam Television movie
1983 The Other Woman Lou Chadway Television movie
1984 Second Edition Cliff Penrose Television movie
1985 My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn Jack L. Warner Television movie
1986 Blacke's Magic Alexander Blacke 13 episodes
1989 Dream Breakers Harry Palliser Television movie
1990 The Ray Bradbury Theater Captain Black Episode: "Mars Is Heaven"
1991 The Golden Girls John Episode: "What a Difference a Date Makes"
1992-1993 Jack's Place Jack Evans 18 episodes
1994 American Experience Narrator Episode: "America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference"
1994 CBS Schoolbreak Special Rabbi Markovitz Episode: "The Writing On the Wall"
1994-1995 The Boys Are Back Fred Hansen 18 episodes
1995 The Colony Philip Denig Television movie
1996 Nowhere Man Senator Wallace Episode: "Gemini"
1996-2001 Touched By an Angel Various roles Two episodes
1998 Biography Narrator Episode: "Confucius: Words of Wisdom"
1998 Killers in the House Arthur Pendleton Television movie
1999 The Nanny Maury Sherry Episode: "California, Here We Come"
1999 The Rockford Files: If It Bleeds... It Leads Ernie Landale Television movie
1999 The Drew Carey Show Mr. Van Zandt Episode: "Brotherhood of Man"
2000 Rude Awakening Judge Howard Barrett Episode: "Judging Billie"
2002 Gilmore Girls Chad Episode: "There's the Rub"
2002 The Zeta Project Dr. Selig (Voice) Episode: "The Hologram Man"
2002 The Glow Arnold Janusz Television movie
2003 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Mr. Turner Episode: "Suite Sorrow"
2004 Will & Grace Alan Episode: "A Gay/December Romance"
2005 Huff Judge Bork Episode: "The Sample Closet"
2005 The King of Queens Bernard Episode: "Catching Hell"
2006 Living With Fran Hal Episode: "The Whole Clan with Fran"
2006-2007 The Bold and the Beautiful Jerry Kramer Six episodes
2008 A Kiss at Midnight Arthur Wright Television film
2010 In Security Television film
2010 Hot in Cleveland Alan Episode: "Meet the Parents"
2011 Outside the Box Father Merrin Unknown episodes
2012 NTSF:SD:SUV:: C.T. Dalton Episode: "Prairie Dog Companion"
2013 The Mindy Project Manny Episode: "Mindy's Brother"
2013 Supernatural Rabbi Isaac Bass Episode: "Everybody Hates Hitler"
2014 2 Broke Girls Lester Episode: "And the New Lease on Life"


Year Award Category Title of work
1971 Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical The Rothschilds
1983 Daytime Emmy Award Special Classification of Outstanding Individual Achievement - Performers FYI
1984 Daytime Emmy Award Special Classification of Outstanding Individual Achievement - Performers FYI
1995 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Performer in a Children's Special CBS Schoolbreak Special

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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