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Before We Forget 6 (George Burns)

Updated on March 11, 2011

"Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family, in another city."

"Happiness? A good cigar, a good meal, a good cigar and a good woman - or a bad woman; it depends on how much happiness you can handle."

A fellow cigar smoker, this guy is the funniest and wittiest person I have ever come across, except for maybe Walter Matthau, or Groucho Marx, who has already been done on hub pages, much to my chagrin.

He lived so long and has played God so well, the first one to play in the movies, that I was shocked when he did actually 'step over.' ('Oh God!, he played the deity wearing baggy pants, sneakers, and a golf cap - two sequels followed, Oh God! II (1980) and Oh God! You Devil (1984)

"I don't believe in dying. It's been done. I'm working on a new exit. Besides, I can't die now - I'm booked."

And, as far as I know, George Burns was the first stand-up comic to be in a major motion picture.

He's been in show business for ninety years and had three careers. The first two of his decades were as a small-time vaudeville performer. Later he was part of a comedy duo with his wife, Gracie Allen and achieved popularity on the stage, radio, television, and in films. After his wife's death, he performed as a stand-up comedian and comic actor, winning an Academy Award at the age of 80 for 'The Sunshine Boys.' (video will follow)

George Burns, born Nathan Birnbaum on January 20, 1896 - died March 9, 1996, he was the ninth of twelve children in an Orthodox Jewish family. The Birnbaums, immigrants from Eastern Europe, lived on New York City's poor lower East Side. His father was a cantor (a painfully out-of-tune one, by Burns's account), who worked as a substitute at a few New York synagogues.


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