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Jack Warden – MovieActors.com

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Warden in WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING.

About Jack Warden (1920 – 2006)

Jack Warden was born as John Lebzelter on September 18, 1920, in Newark, New Jersey to parents, Jack Warden Lebzelter;an engineer and technician, and Laura Costello, who were of Irish and German descent.

As a young teen, Jack moved to Louisville, Kentucky, to live with his grandparents where he stayed for the rest of his teen years. It seems Jack had a bit of a temper, and expressed it through his fists; perhaps because of the circumstances that sent him to his grandparets.. At seventeen, he was expelled from DuPont Manual High School for getting in too many fights.

After trying to make a meager living in professional boxing, under the name, Johnny Costello, he became a bouncer in a night club, and worked as a life guard. Jack then went into the Navy in 1938, for a three year service term in China, patroling the Yangtzee River.

In 1941, he signed up for the Merchant Marine, which he found to be a rather dangerous experience, being attacked by enemy fire. He quit, after a year of dodging bullets, to join the Army.

As an elite 101st Airborne Division paratrooper, Jack broke his leg on a practice jump, and missed the D Day Invasion, where a lot of his buddies were killed; perhaps being spared to become an actor after the war. Jack did see action during The Battle of the Bulge.

Inspired by reading a Clifford Odets play while still in the service, Jack used the G.I. Bill to train as an actor in New York City, and then joined a professional theatre in Dallas, Texas; Company of Theatre '47. Jack had the experience of being cast in Tennessee Williams' plays, and became an actor in demand in both Texas and New York. His first Broadway play was the 1952 revival production of Odet's GOLDEN BOY.

Jack began his character actor career, often playing tough-talking New Yorkers, in a variety of situations. As his career grew, he broadened his appeal as a character actor, to include other roles; (German doctor in DEATH ON THE NILE), that were delightful and much enjoyed by film and television viewers.

At first, Jack was cast in small parts as soldier buddies of the lead characters in film projects. In 1951, Jack made his film debut, in an uncredited role; along with fellow veterans Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson, also in their debut film roles, in YOU'RE IN THE NAVY NOW.

His break-through performance was portraying Juror #12, in the 1957 film, 12 ANGRY MEN. This was followed with EDGE OF THE CITY;(1957), and the W.W.11 war yarn, RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP, holding his own with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster.

During the 1970s', Jack worked with Warren Beatty in two films:SHAMPOO;(1975) and HEAVEN CAN WAIT;(1978). Jack was honored with two Best Supporting Actor Academy Oscars for his performances in these two films.

Other strong supporting actor roles that followed were most enjoyable, including his performances in ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN;(1976), DEATH ON THE NILE;(1978), AND JUSTICE FOR ALL;(1979), BEING THERE;(1979), THE VERDICT;(1982), BULLETS OVER BROADWAY;(1994), WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING;(1995), BULWORTH;(1998) and THE REPLACEMENTS;(2000).

Jack had great success as an actor in television projects as well. His debut television performance was in the 1950 series, SUSPENSE, as a reporter. His television career picked up in the middle 1950s', and soared in the 1960s' and early 1970s'. His most memorable role that people most remember him by was portraying Lt. Mike Haines on the TV Series, N.Y.P.D.

For his performance as Coach Halas in the TV Movie, BRIAN'S SONG, Jack won a Primetime Emmy.

Because of health issues, Jack retired in 2000, and enjoyed life in New York City until his death in 2006, from heart and kidney failure, at the ripe old age of 85. Jack is survived by his son, Christopher, the child he had with estranged wife, actress Wanda Ottoni.

Jack Warden's notable movie credits include...

THE REPLACEMENTS (2000)
A DOG IN FLANDERS (1999)
BULWORTH (1998)
ED (1996)
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING (1995)
PROBLEM CHILD 3 (1995)
PROBLEM CHILD 2 (1991)
PROBLEM CHILD (1990)
STILL CRAZY LIKE A FOX (1987-TV)
THE VERDICT (1982)
THE CHAMP (1979)
ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (1976)
SHAMPOO (1975)
12 ANGRY MEN (1957)


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Jack Warden in SHAMPOO (1975).

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Jack Warden in HEAVEN CAN WAIT.

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Jack Warden in DEATH ON THE NILE.

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Warden in THE VERDICT (1982).

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Jack Warden in ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (1976).

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Warden in MIGHTY APHRODITE (1995).

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Jack Warden in WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING (1995).

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Warden in PROBLEM CHILD (1990).

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Warden in PROBLEM CHILD 2.

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Warden in NAKED CITY (television series).