Shelley Berman, started as a straight actor, receiving his training at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, honing his acting skills in stock companies in and around Chicago and New York. In the mid-fifties he became a member of Chicago’s Compass Players, the group today known as The Second City. Here he developed his skill as an improvisationist.
Berman landed his first job as a comedian at Mr. Kelly’s in Chicago. His comedy albums earned him three gold records and the first GRAMMY for a non-musical recording. He was the first standup comedian to appear in Carnegie Hall. He continues throughout America and internationally doing his one-man show. These days he headlines in Las Vegas twice a year.
Starred: Broadway musical “A Family ffair”, “Inside outside and all around – Shelley Berman”. Starred: national tour of musical “Two By Two”; Neil Simon’s “The Prisoner Of Second Avenue”. His work in Chicago production of “I’m Not Rappaport”: best actor nomination for the Jefferson Award. Two LA Dramalogue Best Actor Awards. 2004: Dell Close Award, Lifetime Achievement in the Field of Improvisation.
Berman’s appeared 21 times on the Ed Sullivan Show; did The Jack Paar Show, major variety shows. TV guest star credits include recurring character Ben Flicker on L.A. LAW, FRIENDS, ARLISS, “PROVIDENCE”, “WALKER, TEXAS RANGER”, “KING OF QUEENS”, “DEAD LIKE ME”
Appearing currently as Larry David’s father, Nat, in HBO’s CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM.
Films include THE BEST MAN with Henry Fonda; EVERY HOME SHOULD HAVE ONE co-star with Marty Feldman; DIVORCE AMERICAN STYLE; RENTED LIPS; TEEN WITCH; ELLIOT FAUMAN PHD; Burt Reynolds’ THE LAST PRODUCER, in 2004 Judge Ira Goldfarb in MEET THE FOCKERS.
Authored three books: CLEANS AND DIRTYS; A HOTEL IS A FUNNY PLACE; UP IN THE AIR. Two plays: FIRST IS SUPPER, first produced in Chicago in 1990; SILVER SONATA performed in San Diego, 1996. Written TV pilots for CBS, Screen Gems, Desilu and NBC.
Today in his 21st year of teaching at USC in the Master of Professional Writing program. His subject is Writing Humor, Literary and Dramatic.
Shelley holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies.