- Category : Writers-Playwright-script
- Type : ME
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Dedication 2
American character actor, director, writer and producer of plays whose early credits included "Hamlet" and "MacBeth," and who became known in later years for such film roles as Rocky Balboa's crusty manager. He won an Emmy in 1977 for portraying attorney Joseph Welch in "Tail Gunner Joe," a TV special about Senator Joseph McCarthy, and won a special Tony award for his 1960 staging of "A Thurber Carnival."
The son of a Cleveland doctor, he was accepted at Amherst College on a scholarship in 1926, but had to leave school for financial reasons. He worked as a merchant seaman, a tie salesman and a vacuum cleaner salesmen before being drawn to New York and Eva Le Galienne's Student Repertory Group. He left the group to act in "Threepenny Opera," and "The Barretts of Wimpole Street" and other Broadway and off-Broadway productions in the early '30s.
Playwright Maxwell Anderson noticed Meredith and wrote a play called "Winterset" with him in mind. It became a Broadway hit in 1935 and later a motion picture with Meredith recreating his role as Mio. That role was the first of three stage portrayals that gained him actor stature. The other two were in "High Tor," 1937, and "The Star Wagon," 1937.
On film, he landed the part of George in "Of Mice and Men" in 1940. His other screen performances included "The Hindenburg," in 1975, "Foul Play," 1978, "Clash of the Titans," 1981, "Grumpy Old Men" in 1993 and its 1995 sequel, "Grumpier Old Men." Though he liked movies, he rarely turned down an opportunity to go back to Broadway.
His first television work came in 1952 and he later became producer and host of "Junior Ford Omnibus" and "Excursion." His other TV work ranged from Eugene O'Neill's, "Ah, Wilderness" to guest shots on "Laredo" and "McCloud." He hosted TV's "Those Amazing Animals," in 1980 and had been a regular on the "Mr. Novak" and "Search" series. He also played the "Penguin" on the "Batman" TV series in the '60s.
He was nominated twice for an Academy Award, but he didn't win. In 1994, he wrote a memoir, "So Far, So Good."
Meredith was married four times, once to actress Paulette Goddard, and had a son, Jonathan, and a daughter, Tala.
He died in Malibu, California on 9/09/1997.