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Comedian and Broadway Veteran Shelley Berman Dies at 92

Berman was directed by Harold Prince in the original Broadway production of A Family Affair.

Comedian Shelley Berman has died at 92.
(© Wikimedia Commons)

Famed comedian Shelley Berman, best known for his work in standup, television, and film, died Friday morning at his home in Bell Canyon, California. According to a Facebook post by his friend Christopher Bay on Berman's official fan page, his death was due to complications from Alzheimer's disease. Berman was 92.

Shelley received acting training at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, and in the mid-1950s, became a member of Chicago's Compass Players, an improv group that later spawned Second City Theater. He went on to perform standup and produce several comedy albums, winning the first Grammy Award for a non-musical recording in 1959 for Inside Shelley Berman.

Also in 1959, Berman performed at Broadway's Alvin Theatre in the musical comedy revue The Girls Against the Boys. He returned to Broadway in 1962 in the musical comedy A Family Affair, directed by Harold Prince, and made his last Broadway appearance in 1980 in his solo comedy special Insideoutsideandallaround With Shelley Berman.

From 2002-09, Berman played the role of Larry David's father on Curb Your Enthusiasm, a role that earned him a 2008 Emmy Award nomination. His TV career also included roles on The Twilight Zone (both radio and TV versions), Bewitched, Peter Gunn, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Adam-12, Emergency!, Brothers, Night Court, MacGyver, L.A. Law, Friends, Walker, Texas Ranger, The King of Queens, Grey's Anatomy, Boston Legal, Hannah Montana, CSI: NY, and Hawaii Five-0.

Berman is survived by his wife of 70 years, Sarah — whom he met while studying acting at the Goodman Theatre — as well as his adopted daughter, Rachel Berman, and two grandsons. Berman and his wife adopted a son, Joshua, as well, who died of a brain tumor in 1977 at the age of 12.