Who was Herb Edelman?
Herb Edelman was an American actor who was most famous for his recurring role of Stanley Zbornak, the persistent ex-husband of Dorothy Zbornak, in the popular NBC TV comedy show ‘The Golden Girls.’ Though he also acted in movies, he is best remembered for his recurring, regular, or guest appearances in more than 50 television shows during the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond. A versatile actor, he performed both dramatic and comedic roles with the same élan. This finesse in acting from a person whose original goal was to become a veterinarian was quite amazing! His shows were not only popular in USA, but also worldwide. Some of his television shows like ‘St. Elsewhere’ and ‘9 to 5’ had high TRP ratings in 60 different countries. Herb was a powerhouse of talents. He was proficient in eight different languages: French, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, and German. Furthermore, he was also a musician, sculptor, and painter
Herb Edelman tried his hands at a couple of careers before settling into acting. He worked a brief stint in the US Army, where he served as an announcer for the Armed Forces Radio. Once he returned home, he started a career in the hotel industry as a hotel manager. Not satisfied with this career move, he started working as a cab driver. It was while driving a cab on one fateful day that he met the famous director Mike Nichols, who was his passenger. He gave him his first big break in acting by casting him in Neil Simon’s Broadway production ‘Barefoot in the Park’ (1963). Herb essayed the role of an ever-confused telephone repairman in this hit show.
Herb Edelman’s acting career in television began with the hit American television series ‘Occasional Wife’ in 1966. ‘Barefoot in the Park’ gave him his big break on Broadway, and also in the movies. In 1967, Herb was again cast as the ever-confused telephone repairman in the film version of ‘Barefoot in the Park.’ Robert Redford and Jane Fonda starred in the lead roles in this movie. From 1968 to 1970, he appeared on ‘The Good Guys’ as Bert Gramus. In 1968, Neil Simon’s ‘The Odd Couple’ was made into a movie and Herb Edelman starred as Murray, the lovable policeman.
Herb Edelman went on to do many major supporting and small roles in movies. Audiences loved him as the Russian premier in ‘In Like Flint’ (1967), Felix in ‘The Strange and Deadly Occurrence (1974), Danny in ‘Smash-Up on Interstate 5’ (1976), and Dr Jonas Pletchick in ‘Cracking Up.’ However, he is best remembered for the many memorable roles that he played on numerous television shows. None can ever forget his portrayal of Stanley Zbornak in the series ‘The Golden Girls.’ He got two Emmy nominations (1987 and 1988) for his role in the series. He was the main lead in ‘The Good Guys’ (1969) and ‘Big John and Little John’ (1976). From 1984 to 1995, he was seen in ‘Murder, She Wrote.’ His other television appearances include roles in ‘Strike Force’ (1981-82), ‘St. Elsewhere’ (1984-88), ‘Highway to Heaven’ (1985), and ‘Knots Landing’ (1990). Herb Edelman was last seen in an episode of ‘Burke’s Law.’
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Family & Personal Life
Herb Edelman was born on 5th November 1933, in Brooklyn, New York, USA. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the Cornell University to study veterinary medicine. However, he left it within a year and went on to join the US Army. After leaving the US Army, he enrolled at the Brooklyn College to study theatre. He left that too in the middle to become a hotel manager, and later on, a cab driver.
Herb was married only once in his lifetime even though he was involved with multiple women. His marriage with Louise Sorel, a soap opera actress, lasted from 1964 to 1970.
He started a romantic relationship with Merrilyn Cosgrove in 1971. This union lasted till 1984. They had two daughters, Briana Edelman and Jacy Edelman. After his separation from Cosgrove, he began dating Christina Pickles, who was his co-star in ‘St. Elsewhere.’ Their relationship lasted till his death from emphysema on July 21, 1996.