Edward G. Robinson

Edward G. Robinson

Infobox actor
bgcolour = silver
name = Edward G. Robinson

imagesize = 250px
caption = "The Ten Commandments" (fy|1956)
birthdate = birth date|1893|12|12
location = Bucharest, Romania
deathdate = death date and age|1973|01|26|1893|12|12
deathplace = Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Hollywood, California, USA
birthname = Emanuel Goldenberger
spouse = Gladys Lloyd (1927-1956)
Jane Robinson (1958-1973)
academyawards = Academy Honorary Award
1973 Lifetime Archievement
sagawards = Life Achievement Award
1969 Lifetime Archievement

Edward Goldenberg Robinson, Sr. (born Emanuel Goldenberg; Yiddish: עמנואל גאלדנבערג; December 12 1893 – January 26 1973) was an honorary Academy Award-winning American actor born in Romania.

Birth and education

Born to a Yiddish-speaking Jewish family in Bucharest, he emigrated with his family to New York City in 1903. He attended Townsend Harris High School and then City College of New York, but an interest in acting led to him winning an American Academy of Dramatic Arts scholarship, after which he changed his name to "Edward G. Robinson" (the G. signifying his original last name).Fact|date=September 2008

Acting 1913-1973

He began his acting career in 1913 and made his Broadway debut in 1915. He made his film debut in a minor and uncredited role in 1916; in 1923 he made his named debut as "E. G. Robinson" in "The Bright Shawl". One of many actors who saw his career flourish in the new sound film era rather than falter, he made only three films prior to 1930 but left his stage career that year and made fourteen films in 1930-32. He married his first wife, the stage actress Gladys Lloyd, in 1927; born Gladys Lloyd Cassell, she was the former wife of Ralph L. Vestervelt and the daughter of Clement C. Cassell, an architect, sculptor, and artist. The couple had one son, Edward Goldenberger Robinson, Jr. (a.k.a Manny Robinson, 1933-1974), as well as a daughter from Gladys Robinson's first marriage. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Edward G. Robinson, Jr. Is Dead; Late Screen Star's Son Was 40 |url= |quote=Edward G. Robinson Jr., the son of the late screen actor, died yesterday. Mr. Robinson, who was 40 years old, was found unconscious by his wife, Nan, in their West Hollywood home. His death was attributed to natural causes. |publisher=New York Times |date=1974-02-27, Wednesday |accessdate=2007-07-21 ]

An acclaimed performance as the gangster Rico Bandello in "Little Caesar" (1931) led to him being typecast as a 'tough guy' for much of his early career in works such as "Five Star Final" (1931), "Smart Money" (1931; his only movie with James Cagney), "Tiger Shark" (1932), "Kid Galahad" (1937) with Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart, and "A Slight Case of Murder" and "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse" (1938). In the 1940s, after a good performance in "Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet" (1940), he expanded into edgy psychological dramas including "Double Indemnity" (1944), "The Woman in the Window" (1945) and "Scarlet Street" (1945); but he continued to portray gangsters such as Johnny Rocco in John Huston's classic "Key Largo" (1948), the last of five films he made with Humphrey Bogart.

On three occasions in 1950 and 1952 he was called to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee and was threatened with blacklisting. [Sabin, Arthur J. "In Calmer Times: The Supreme Court and Red Monday", p. 35. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.] Robinson became frightened and took steps to clear his name, such as having a representative go through his check stubs to ensure that none had been issued to subversive organizations. ["ibid."; Bud and Ruth Schultz, "It Did Happen Here: Recollections of Political Repression in America", p. 113. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.] He reluctantly gave names of communist sympathizers and his own name was cleared, but thereafter he received smaller and less frequent roles. Still, anti-communist director Cecil B. DeMille cast him in "The Ten Commandments" in 1956.

A cultured and urbane man, Robinson built up a significant art collection, especially of abstract modern art. In 1956, he sold it to Greek shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos to raise cash for his divorce settlement with Gladys Robinson; his finances had suffered due to underemployment after Hollywood's anti-communist period in the 1950s. That same year he returned to Broadway in "Middle of the Night".

After DeMille brought Robinson back into movies, his most notable roles were in "A Hole in the Head" (1959) opposite Frank Sinatra and "The Cincinnati Kid" (1965), which showcased Robinson alongside Steve McQueen. Director Peter Bogdanovich was considered as a possible director for "The Godfather" in 1972, but turned it down, later remarking that he would have cast Robinson in the role ultimately played by Marlon Brando. Robinson indeed tried to talk his way into the part (which was how he had won the role of "Little Caesar" 40 years earlier), but Francis Coppola decided on Brando instead, over the initial objections of the studio.

Robinson was popular in the 1930s and 1940s and was able to avoid many flops during a 50-year career that included 101 films. His last scene was a euthanasia sequence in the science fiction cult classic "Soylent Green" (1973) in which he dies in a euthanasia clinic while watching nature films on a wall-sized screen.


Robinson was never nominated for an Academy Award, but in 1973 he was awarded an honorary Oscar in recognition that he had "achieved greatness as a player, a patron of the arts, and a dedicated citizen ... in sum, a Renaissance man". [ [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000064/awards] Awards for Edward G. Robinson at the International Movie Database] He died from cancer at the age of 79, two months before the award ceremony.cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Edward G. Robinson, 79, Dies; His 'Little Caesar' Set a Style; Man of Great Kindness Edward G. Robinson Is Dead at 79 Made Speeches to Friends Appeared in 100 Films |url=http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F60A10FB3E551A7493C5AB178AD85F478785F9 |quote=Edward G. Robinson, whose tough, sinister appearance on movie screens concealed the soul of a gentle man, died today at the age of 79. Mr. Robinson succumbed at Mount Sinai Hospital where he had undergone tests in recent weeks. The cause of death was not immediately determined. |publisher=New York Times |date=1973-01-27, Saturday |accessdate=2007-07-21 ]

Edward G. Robinson is buried in a crypt in the family mausoleum at Beth-El Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens, New York.

Legacy and tributes

*A character bearing his likeness, an earlier version of the gangster character Rocky, was featured in the Bugs Bunny cartoon Rackateer Rabbit (in that cartoon, Robinson was paired with a Peter Lorre caricature). Another character based on Robinson's gangster image was The Frog from the cartoon series "Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse".

*The character Brandon "Big Boss" Babel from the cartoon series "C.O.P.S." is loosely based on Robinson's gangster portrayals.

*George in the 1990 film Gremlins 2 was a caricature of Robinson.

*The Gerry Anderson series "Dick Spanner" features a villain named Edgar G. Hobson in "The Case Of The Maltese Parrot". The character is played as a Robinson-style character, down to his "See?" catchphrase.

*In the episode "Play It Again, Seymour" of the TV series "Quantum Leap", Dr. Sam Beckett mimics Robinson saying, "Don't even think about it, you mug" only to be corrected by Al "It's not a Humphrey Bogart line!" (Sam had leaped into a man who resembled Bogart.)

*In Robinson's final film, "Soylent Green", he plays a depressed and disillusioned man who commits suicide to escape from the apocalyptic future world in which he lives; his death scene features him speaking with co-star Charlton Heston whose character weeps silently as he sees Robinson's photos of a pre-destroyed Earth. The tears were real; Charlton was at that time the only one who knew of Robinson's terminal cancer. Indeed, Robinson died less than a month later, just twelve days after the end of filming.

*In one of his bits, comedian Richard Jeni jokingly claimed he loved the new trend of women smoking cigars. He claimed "...because in a romantic situation, I want my woman to remind me as much of Edward G. Robinson as possible! 'Look here's how it's gonna go, see. You're gonna make love to me'..." in a Robinson-esque tone. This bit is repeated in the Dr. Katz episode "Monte Carlo".

*Martin Freeman plays a reinsurance actuary named Ed Robinson in British TV series "The Robinsons". Edward G. Robinson played an actuary in the 1944 film, "Double Indemnity".

* Hank Azaria has mentioned that his voice for Chief Wiggum on The Simpsons is based on Edward G. Robinson

* In the Billy Wilder film One, Two, Three!, James Cagney exclaims, "Mother of Mercy, is this the end of Rico?!" in a reference to Robinson's role in Little Caesar.


*"Arms and the Woman" (1916)
*"The Bright Shawl" (1923)
*"The Hole in the Wall" (1929)
*"Warner Bros. Jubilee Dinner" (1930) (short subject)
*"Night Ride" (1930)
*"A Lady to Love" (1930)
*"Outside the Law" (1930)
*"East Is West" (1930)
*"The Widow from Chicago" (1930)
*"" (1931) (short subject)
*"Little Caesar" (1931)
*"The Slippery Pearls" (1931) (short subject)
*"Smart Money" (1931)
*"Five Star Final" (1931)
*"The Hatchet Man" (1932)
*"Two Seconds" (1932)
*"Tiger Shark" (1932)
*"Silver Dollar" (1932)
*"The Little Giant" (1933)
*"I Loved a Woman" (1933)
*"Dark Hazard" (1934)
*"The Man with Two Faces" (1934)
*"The Whole Town's Talking" (1935)
*"Barbary Coast" (1935)
*"Bullets or Ballots" (1936)
*"Thunder in the City" (1937)
*"Kid Galahad" (1937)
*"The Last Gangster" (1937)
*"A Slight Case of Murder" (1938)
*"The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse" (1938)
*"I Am the Law" (1938)
*"Verdensberomtheder i Kobenhavn" (1939) (documentary)
*"A Day at Santa Anita" (1939) (short subject)
*"Confessions of a Nazi Spy" (1939)
*"Blackmail" (1939)
*"Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet" (1940)
*"Brother Orchid" (1940)
*"A Dispatch from Reuters" (1940)
*"The Sea Wolf" (1941)
*"Manpower" (1941)
*"Polo with the Stars" (1941) (short subject)
*"Unholy Partners" (1941)
*"Larceny, Inc." (1942)
*"Tales of Manhattan" (1942)
*"Moscow Strikes Back" (1942) (documentary) (narrator)
*"Magic Bullets" (1943) (short subject) (narrator)
*"Destroyer" (1943)
*"Flesh and Fantasy" (1943)
*"Tampico" (1944)
*"Mr. Winkle Goes to War" (1944)
*"Double Indemnity" (1944)
*"The Woman in the Window" (1945)
*"Our Vines Have Tender Grapes" (1945)
*"Scarlet Street" (1945)
*"American Creed" (1946) (short subject)
*"Journey Together" (1946)
*"The Stranger" (1946)
*"The Red House" (1947)
*"All My Sons" (1948)
*"Key Largo" (1948)
*"Night Has a Thousand Eyes" (1948)
*"House of Strangers" (1949)
*"It's a Great Feeling" (1949) (cameo)
*"Operation X" (1950)
*"Actors and Sin" (1952)
*"Vice Squad" (1953)
*"Big Leaguer" (1953)
*"The Glass Web" (1953)
*"What's My Line?" (as October 11, 1953 mystery guest)
*"Black Tuesday" (1954)
*"Hell on Frisco Bay" (1955)
*"The Violent Men" (1955)
*"Tight Spot" (1955)
*"A Bullet for Joey" (1955)
*"Illegal" (1955)
*"Nightmare" (1956)
*"The Ten Commandments" (1956)
*"The Heart of Show Business" (1957) (short subject) (narrator)
*"A Hole in the Head" (1959)
*"Seven Thieves" (1960)
*"Pepe" (1960) (cameo)
*"My Geisha" (1962)
*"Two Weeks in Another Town" (1962)
*"A Boy Ten Feet Tall" (1963)
*"The Prize" (1963)
*"Robin and the 7 Hoods" (1964) (cameo)
*"Good Neighbor Sam" (1964)
*"Cheyenne Autumn" (1964)
*"The Outrage" (1964)
*"The Cincinnati Kid" (1965)
*"All About People" (1967) (short subject) (narrator)
*"Grand Slam" (1967)
*"The Blonde from Peking" (1967)
*"Operation St. Peter's" (1967)
*"The Biggest Bundle of Them All" (1968)
*"Never a Dull Moment" (1968)
*"It's Your Move" (1969)
*"Mackenna's Gold" (1969)
*"Song of Norway" (1970)
*"The Old Man Who Cried Wolf" (1970)
*"Mooch Goes to Hollywood" (1971) (cameo)
*"Neither by Day Nor by Night" (1972)
*"Soylent Green" (1973)


Further reading

*cite book|last=Gansberg|first=Alan L.|title=Little Caesar: A Biography of Edward G. Robinson|year=2004|publisher=Scarecrow Press|id=ISBN 0-8108-4950-X

External links

*imdb name|id=0000064|name=Edward G. Robinson
*tcmdb name|id=163201|name=Edward G. Robinson
*ibdb name|id=5280|name=Edward G. Robinson
*Find A Grave|id=880

NAME= Robinson, Edward Goldenberg
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Goldenberg, Emanuel; עמנואל גולדנברג (Yiddish)
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Romanian-American film actor
DATE OF BIRTH= February 12, 1893
PLACE OF BIRTH= Bucharest, Romania
DATE OF DEATH= January 26, 1973
PLACE OF DEATH= Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

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  • Edward G. Robinson — Edward Goldenberg Robinson, eigentlich Emmanuel Goldenberg (* 12. Dezember 1893 in Bukarest/Rumänien; † 26. Januar 1973 in Los Angeles/Kalifornien), war ein amerikanischer Schauspieler. Er war häufig in Gangsterrollen zu sehen. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Edward Goldenberg Robinson — Edward Goldenberg Robinson, eigentlich Emmanuel Goldenberg (* 12. Dezember 1893 in Bukarest/Rumänien; † 26. Januar 1973 in Los Angeles/Kalifornien), war ein amerikanischer Schauspieler. Er war häufig in Gangsterrollen zu sehen. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Edward G Robinson — [Edward G Robinson] (1893–1973) a US actor, born in Romania, who was best known for playing tough criminals in films. His films include Little Caesar (1930), The Last Gangster (1938), Double Indemnity (1944), All My Sons (1948) …   Useful english dictionary

  • Edward G. Robinson — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Robinson. Edward G. Robinson …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Edward G. Robinson — noun United States film actor noted for playing gangster roles (1893 1973) • Syn: ↑Robinson, ↑Edward Goldenberg Robinson • Instance Hypernyms: ↑actor, ↑histrion, ↑player, ↑thespian, ↑role player …   Useful english dictionary

  • Edward Goldenberg Robinson — noun United States film actor noted for playing gangster roles (1893 1973) • Syn: ↑Robinson, ↑Edward G. Robinson • Instance Hypernyms: ↑actor, ↑histrion, ↑player, ↑thespian, ↑role player …   Useful english dictionary

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