Birth Date: November 16, 1907
Birth Place: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Date of Death: September 9, 1997 / Age: 89
Location of Death: Malibu, California, USA
Cause of Death: Alzheimer's disease
Biography: Burgess Meredith (November 16, 1907 – September 9, 1997) was an American actor, perhaps best known for playing The Penguin on the television series Batman. The Penguin's trademark quacking laugh was actually Meredith's attempt to cover up coughing fits, as his part required him to smoke, something he had not done in years. He admitted in an interview it sounded more like a duck than a penguin.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Meredith played Rocky Balboa's trainer Mickey in the Rocky film series, and in his twilight years was Jack Lemmon's character's father in Grumpy Old Men.
Burgess Meredith was adept playing both dramatic and comedic roles. In the famous "Time Enough at Last", a 1959 episode of The Twilight Zone, Meredith plays a henpecked bank teller who only wants to be left alone with his books. When he takes a lunch break to read in the bank vault, he is saved from a nuclear war that destroys the world. However, he becomes the tragic victim of one of The Twilight Zone 's trademark twist endings - he breaks his glasses and cannot read the books.
In a 1961 episode, "Mr. Dingle, the Strong", Meredith plays a comedic role as the subject of a space alien's experiment on human nature. Mr. Dingle, a small, weak man, suddenly acquires superhuman strength. He uses it only to win bets and show off, and hilarity ensues.
Meredith also played the devil in "Printer's Devil" and a doomed librarian in "The Obsolete Man," making him the only person besides Jack Klugman to have four starring roles in The Twilight Zone.
He went on to play Mickey in the first three Rocky films to great acclaim.
A somewhat more mixed (comedic/dramatic) role was his portrayal of the philosophical (yet hapless) tramp, Vladimir, in a notable production of Beckett's Waiting for Godot.
Meredith served in the United States Army Air Force in World War II, reaching the rank of Captain. Because of the House Committee on Un-American Activities investigation into Communist influence in Hollywood, Meredith was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses in the 1950s.
Meredith died of Alzheimer's disease in 1997. Ironically, his character died in his final movie, Grumpier Old Men.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Burgess Meredith has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6904 Hollywood Blvd.