Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Herbert John (Jackie) Gleason, nicknamed "The Great One" -(February 26, 1916 – June 24, 1987) was a large Brooklyn-born comedian famous for brash humor and fast ad-libs who immortalized his Brooklyn neighborhood in The Honeymooners, playing bus driver Ralph Kramden . Ralph, his buddy Ed Norton, and their wives Alice Kramden and Trixie Norton . The foursome were later transplanted into the Stone Age on The Flintstones, the entire show being a transparent tribute to The Honeymooners.
In 1949, he originated the role of Chester Riley on the TV comedy The Life of Riley. Gleason had his own variety show entitled The Jackie Gleason Show which ran from 1952-1959 and then moved to Miami Beach for a second run in 1966-1970.
His trademark phrase was "How sweet it is!" uttered during the applause at the opening of his show.
Gleason earned acclaim for his role as Minnesota Fats in the 1961 Paul Newman movie The Hustler, in which he made his own pool shots. Later in life, Jackie Gleason gained fame for his portrayal of foul-mouthed Sheriff Buford T. Justice in the Smokey and the Bandit series of films.
Gleason apparently believed in UFOs, and claimed to have seen them himself. There was even a report that Richard Nixon took Gleason to view the remains of aliens killed in the crash of a flying saucer, but as this particular report first appeared in the pages of the National Enquirer, it is dubious at best.
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