Tony Randall was born Leonard Rosenberg in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1920. At age 12 he attended a school play and decided he wanted to become an actor. At age 20, after a year studying acting with Northwestern University’s Theatre Department, he set out for New York and the Neighborhood Playhouse.
There he trained tirelessly for a career in which the odds of making a living were totally against him. Luckily he drew support from his parents – $10 a week. In the early 1940s, it was enough to avoid starvation. In 1941, he married Florence Mitchell, from Northwestern, and started to find steady work in radio. His rich voice was heard on soap operas such as “Portia Faces Life.” He also made his New York stage debut and appeared with Ethel Barrymore.
The next year, Randall reported to the Army and served until 1946. In 1947, he was back on the boards appearing in The Barretts of Wimpole Street and Anthony and Cleopatra. In 1952, he joined Wally Cox as a regular on the hit show Mr. Peepers. By the end of the decade he was starring in Hollywood movies opposite stars such as Jayne Mansfield, Debbie Reynolds, Doris Day and Rock Hudson.
In 1960 he appeared with Marilyn Monroe in Let’s Make Love. In the 1970s Randall was teamed with Jack Klugman in the TV series The Odd Couple. From there he hosted his own The Tony Randall Show and appeared often in films and on TV. He returned to Broadway in the late ’80s in the triumphant M Butterfly.