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Jack Warden (September 18, 1920 – July 19, 2006) was an Americanmarker character actor.

Early life

Warden was born John H. Lebzelter in Newark, New Jerseymarker, the son of Laura M. (née Costello) and John Warden Lebzelter, who was an engineer and technician. His father was Jewish and his mother was Irish American. Raised in Louisville, Kentuckymarker, he was expelled from high school for fighting and eventually fought as a professional boxer under the name Johnny Costello. He had 13 welterweight bouts but earned little money.

World War II

He worked as a nightclub bouncer, tugboat deckhand and lifeguard before joining the United States Navy in 1938. He was stationed in Chinamarker for three years with the Yangtze River Patrol.

In 1941, he joined the United States Merchant Marine but, quickly tiring of the long convoy runs, he switched to the United States Army in 1942 where he served as a paratrooper in the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, with the elite 101st Airborne Division during World War II.

In 1944, on the eve of the D-Day invasion (during which many of his friends died), Staff Sergeant (Lebzelter) Warden shattered his leg by landing on a fence during a night-time practice jump in England. After almost a year in the hospital (during which time he read a Clifford Odets play and decided to become an actor after the end of the war), he recovered enough to participate in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Ironically in That Kind of Woman (1959) Warden played a paratrooper from the 101st's rivals: the 82nd Airborne Division.

After leaving the military with the rank of sergeant, he moved to New York Citymarker and pursued an acting career on the G.I. Bill. He joined the company of the Dallas Alley Theater and performed on stage for five years. In 1948 he made his television debut on The Philco Television Playhouse and Studio One. He made an uncredited film debut in 1951 in You're in the Navy Now, a movie which also featured the film debuts of Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson.


Warden had his first credited film role in The Man with My Face in 1951, and in 1952 he began a three-year role in the television series Mr. Peepers. After a role as a sympathetic corporal in From Here to Eternity (1953), Warden's breakthrough film role was his performance as Juror No. 7, a salesman who wants a quick decision in a murder case, in 12 Angry Men (1957).

Warden guest starred on many television series over the years, including two 1960 episodes of Barton MacLane's The Outlaws on NBC, and thereafter on Marilyn Maxwell's Bus Stop on ABC. He received a supporting actor Emmy Award for his performance as Chicago Bears coach George Halas in Brian's Song (1971), and was twice nominated for his starring role in the 1980's comedy series, Crazy Like a Fox. Additionally, Warden was nominated for Academy Awards as Best Supporting Actor for his performances in Shampoo (1975) and Heaven Can Wait (1978). He also had notable roles in such films as All the President's Men (1976), ...And Justice for All and Being There (both 1979), Used Carsmarker (in which he played a celebrated dual role in 1980), The Verdict (1982), Problem Child (1990) and its sequel (1991), While You Were Sleeping (1995), and the Norm Macdonald film Dirty Work (1998).

Warden appeared in over one hundred movies, typically playing gruff cops, sports coaches, trusted friends and similar roles, during a career which spanned six decades. His last film was 2000's The Replacements, opposite Gene Hackman and Keanu Reeves.

Personal life

Warden married French actress Vanda Dupre in 1958 and had one son, Christopher. Although they separated in the 1970s they never divorced.


After retiring from acting in 2000, Warden suffered from declining health in his last years. On July 19, 2006, he died of heart and kidney failure in a New York hospital at the age of 85.

Selected filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1950 The Asphalt Jungle Bit role Uncredited
1951 The Man with My Face Walt Davis
1953 From Here to Eternity Corporal Buckley
1957 Edge of the City Charles Malik Alternative title: A Man Is Ten Feet Tall
The Bachelor Party Eddie Watkins, the Bachelor
12 Angry Men Juror No. 7
1958 Run Silent, Run Deep Yeoman 1st Class Mueller
1959 The Sound and the Fury Ben Compson
That Kind of Woman George Kelly
1960 Wake Me When It's Over Doc Dave Farrington
1962 Escape from Zahrain Huston
1963 Donovan's Reef Dr. William Dedham
1964 The Thin Red Line First Sgt. Welsh
1965 Blindfold General Prat
1968 Bye Bye Braverman Barnet Weinstein
1971 Welcome to the Club Gen. Strapp
1973 The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing Dawes
1974 The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz Max
1975 Shampoo Lester Carp First Academy Award nomination
1976 All the President's Men Harry M. Rosenfeld
1977 The White Buffalo Charlie Zane
1978 Death on the Nile Doctor Ludwig Bessner
Heaven Can Wait Max Corkle Second Academy Award nomination
1979 The Champ Jackie
Beyond the Poseidon Adventure Harold Meredith
Being There President "Bobby" of the United States
1979 ...And Justice for All Judge Francis Rayford
1980 Used Carsmarker Roy L. Fuchs/Luke Fuchs
1981 The Great Muppet Caper Mr. Tarkenian the News Editor
Chu Chu and the Philly Flash The Commander
Carbon Copy Nelson Longhurst
So Fine Jack Fine
1982 The Verdict Mickey Morrissey
1984 Crackers Garvey
1985 The Aviator Moravia
1986 The Cosmic Eye Rocko Voice
1987 September Lloyd
1988 The Presidio Sgt. Maj. Ross Maclure
1990 Everybody Wins Judge Harry Murdoch
Problem Child 'Big' Ben Healy
1991 Problem Child 2 'Big' Ben Healy
1992 Passed Away Jack Scanlan
Night and the City Al Grossman
Toys Old General Zevo
1993 Guilty as Sin Moe
1994 Bullets Over Broadway Julian Marx
1995 Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead Joe Heff
Mighty Aphrodite Tiresias
While You Were Sleeping Saul
1996 Ed Chubb
1997 The Island on Bird Street Boruch
1998 Dirty Work Pops
Bulworth Eddie Davers
1999 A Dog of Flanders Jehan Daas
2000 The Replacements Edward O'Neil
Year Title Role Notes
1952 Tales of Tomorrow Steve 1 episode
Mr. Peepers Chicago Cabbie 1 episode
1953 The Campbell Playhouse 1 episode
Man Against Crime Deck Hand 2 episodes
1954-1555 Kraft Television Theatre Various roles 2 episodes
Studio One Various roles 3 episodes
1956 The Alcoa Hour Frank Doran 1 episode
Climax! Lieutenant Ravenna 1 episode
1958-1959 Playhouse 90 Various roles 3 episodes
1959 Five Fingers Fitzgerald "The Moment of Truth"
1959-1960 The Twilight Zone James A. Corry
Mouth McGarry
"The Lonely"
"The Mighty Casey"
1960 The Outlaws 2 episodes
1961 Checkmate Farrell 1 episode
1962 Target: The Corruptors! Jerry Skala 2 episodes
1962 Tales of Wells Fargo Brad Axton 1 episode
1963 77 Sunset Strip Max Eames 1 episode
1964 Breaking Point Carlo Scotti "No Squares in My Family Circle"
1964 The Great Adventure Latham 1 episode
Bewitched Rex Barker "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog"
1965 Dr. Kildare Ernie Duffy 1 episode
1966 The Wackiest Ship in the Army Maj. Simon Butcher 2 episodes
1967 The Invaders Barney Cahill 1 episode
1967-1969 N.Y.P.D. Lt. Mike Haines 49 episodes
1971 The Face of Fear Lieutenant George Coy Television movie
1972 Lieutenant Schuster's Wife Capt. Patrick Lonergan Television movie
1973 Wheeler and Murdoch Sam Wheeler Television movie
1974 The Godchild Sgt. Dobbs Television movie
1975 Journey from Darkness Fred Hartman Television movie
1979-1980 The Bad News Bears Morris Buttermaker 23 episodes
1983 Hobson's Choice Henry Horatio Hobson Television movie
1984 Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues Mark Twain Television movie
1984-1986 Crazy Like a Fox Harrison "Harry" Fox, Sr. 35 episodes
1987 Hoover vs. the Kennedys: The Second Civil War J. Edgar Hoover Television movie
1988 Police Story: The Watch Commander Joe Wilson Television movie
1989 Knight & Daye Hank Knight 1 episode
1990 Judgment Claude Fortier Television movie
1995 Problem Child 3: Junior in Love Big Ben Television movie
1997 Ink Timothy Logan 1 episode
1999 The Norm Show Harry 1 episode

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Film or series
1972 Emmy Award Won Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Drama Brian's Song
1985 Nominated Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Crazy Like a Fox
1986 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Crazy Like a Fox
1976 Academy Award Best Actor in a Supporting Role Shampoo
1979 Best Actor in a Supporting Role Heaven Can Wait
1976 BAFTA Award Best Supporting Actor Shampoo


  1. Jack Warden | Times Online Obituary

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