Shelley Berman is a Jewish American comedian, actor, writer, teacher, lecturer, philanthropist and poet.
He was born Sheldon Berman in Chicago, Illinois in 1926.
After Berman was discharged from the Navy, he attended the Goodman Theatre's drama school in Chicago. In 1947, Berman married his wife and fellow actress, Sarah Herman.
For two years Berman acted in the Woodstock Players troupe in Illinois and, in 1949, set off with his wife to find other work. He was offered a job as a writer on Steve Allen's Tonight show and then returned to Chicago soon after to join an improvisational acting group called the Compass Players.
While back in Chicago, Shelley Berman was able to hone his acting skills and to develop an original one-man comedy stand-up routine. Berman performed in night clubs all over the country.
In 1959, Verve Records released Berman's first comedy album called Inside Shelley Berman. This comedy album was the first to win a gold record and a Grammy. His debut album was followed by Outside Shelley Berman and The Edge of Shelley Berman.
Berman's comedy was known all over the country and he went back to the theatre as a stage manager in numerous Broadway productions.
Recently, Shelley Berman has held guest spots on many prime time television shows and he won an Emmy for his role on Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO) on which he played Larry David's father. He currently plays Judge Robert Sanders on Boston Legal (ABC).
Berman can also be spotted in various new release films such as Meet the Fockers and You Don't Mess with the Zohan.