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Hal Linden

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Hal Linden
Publicity photo for FYI (1981)
Harold Lipshitz

(1931-03-20) March 20, 1931 (age 93)
EducationHigh School of Music & Art
Alma mater
Occupation(s)Actor, television director, musician
Years active1956–present
Frances Martin
(m. 1958; died 2010)

Hal Linden (born Harold Lipshitz,[1] March 20, 1931) is an American stage and screen actor, television director and musician.

Linden began his career as a big band musician and singer in the 1950s. After a stint in the United States Army, he began an acting career, first working in summer stock and off-Broadway productions. Linden found success on Broadway when he replaced Sydney Chaplin in the musical Bells Are Ringing. In 1962, he starred as Billy Crocker in the off-Broadway revival of the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes. In 1971, he won a Best Actor Tony Award for his portrayal of Mayer Rothschild in the musical The Rothschilds.

In 1974, Linden landed his best-known role as the title character in the television comedy series Barney Miller. The role earned him seven Primetime Emmy nominations and three Golden Globe Award nominations. During the series' run, Linden also hosted two educational series, Animals, Animals, Animals and FYI. He won two special Daytime Emmy Awards for the latter series. Linden won a third Daytime Emmy Award for a guest-starring role on CBS Schoolbreak Special in 1995. Linden has since continued his career on the stage, in films and guest-starring roles on television. He released his first album of pop and jazz standards, It's Never Too Late, in 2011.

Early life


Hal Linden was born on March 20, 1931, in The Bronx, New York City, New York, the youngest son of Frances (née Rosen) and Charles Lipshitz, a Lithuanian Jew who immigrated to the United States in 1910 and owned a printing shop. Hal's older brother, Bernard, became a professor of music at Bowling Green State University.[2] Linden attended Herman Ridder Junior High School[3] and the High School of Music and Art, going on to study music at Queens College, City University of New York.[4] He later enrolled in Baruch College[5] and then City College of New York where he received a Bachelor of Arts in business.[6]

During his youth, Linden wanted to be a big band singer and bandleader. Before embarking on a career in music, he decided to change his name, stating, "'Swing and Sway with Harold Lipshitz' just didn't parse." While riding on a bus from Philadelphia to New York through the town of Linden, New Jersey, he saw the name Linden on the water tower and changed his name to Hal Linden.[7] During the 1950s, he toured with Sammy Kaye, Bobby Sherwood, and other big bands of the era. Linden played the saxophone and clarinet and also sang.[7][8]

He enlisted in the United States Army in 1952 and was sent to Fort Belvoir and played in the United States Army Band. While he was in Fort Belvoir, a friend recommended that he see the touring production of Guys and Dolls playing in Washington, D.C. After seeing the show, Linden decided to become an actor.[9][10] He was discharged from the Army in 1954.[5]



Linden replaced Sydney Chaplin in the Broadway production of Bells Are Ringing in 1958.[8] He made a further breakthrough on the New York City stage in 1962 when he was cast as Billy Crocker in the revival of Cole Porter's Anything Goes.[11]

Linden's career slowed in the 1960s. During this time, he dubbed English dialogue for various foreign films, did voiceover work for commercials and sang jingles,[10] and performed in industrial musicals such as Diesel Dazzle (1966). His career was revived in the 1970s when he was cast as Mayer Rothschild in the 1971 musical The Rothschilds. The role earned him a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.[12] In 1973, he co-starred opposite Tony Lo Bianco in the NBC television film Mr. Inside/Mr. Outside. The film was intended to be the pilot for a proposed series but was not picked up by the network.[13]

Barney Miller


In 1974, Linden landed the starring role in the ABC television police sitcom Barney Miller. He portrayed the eponymous captain of the 12th Precinct in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City. He earned seven Emmy Award nominations for his work on the series. Linden is tied with Matt LeBlanc and John Goodman for the most Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy Award nominations without ever winning. He also earned four Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. The series aired from 1975 to 1982. Linden later said that leaving Broadway to work on Barney Miller was his most irrational act and also one of his best decisions.[14]

During the run of Barney Miller, Linden served as the narrator and host of the ABC children's shows Animals, Animals, Animals and FYI. He won two Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Individual Achievement for his host work on FYI. in 1984 and 1985.[8]

Later career


After Barney Miller ended in 1982, Linden appeared in several television films, including I Do! I Do! (1982), the television adaptation of the musical of the same name, and Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land (1983). Also in 1982, he was the producers' first choice for the starring role of Dr. Donald Westphall in St. Elsewhere, but he turned down the opportunity without reading the script or meeting the producers because he wanted to take a break from television.[15] (The role was then given to Ed Flanders.)

In 1984, he costarred in the television film Second Edition. The film was intended to be a series but was not picked up by CBS. The following year, Linden portrayed studio head Jack L. Warner in the television biopic My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn.

Linden at Chiller Theatre on April 30, 2011

In 1986, Linden returned to episodic television in the NBC series Blacke's Magic. He played the lead character, Alexander Blacke, a magician who solves mysteries with the help of his father Leonard (Harry Morgan), a retired carnival magician and sometimes confidence man. The series was canceled after 13 episodes. In 1988, he co-starred in the romantic comedy A New Life, directed by Alan Alda. In 1991 he guest-starred in an episode of “The Golden Girls” in the part of John Neretti, Bea Arthur’s character’s love interest. In 1992, Linden tried his hand at television again with the leading role in the comedy-drama series Jack's Place. In the series, Linden portrayed Jack Evans, a retired jazz musician who ran a restaurant that was frequented by patrons who learned lessons about love. The show was often compared to The Love Boat by critics as it featured a different weekly guest star.[16] The series premiered as a mid-season replacement but did well enough in the ratings for ABC to order additional episodes. Viewership soon declined and ABC chose to cancel the series in 1993. The next year, Linden appeared in the CBS sitcom The Boys Are Back. That series was also low rated and canceled after 18 episodes. In 1995, Linden won his third Daytime Emmy Award for his 1994 guest-starring role as Rabbi Markovitz on CBS Schoolbreak Special.[17]

In 1996, Linden had a supporting role in the television film The Colony, opposite John Ritter and June Lockhart. The role was a departure for Linden as he played the villainous head of a home owner's association of a gated community.[18] In 1999, he had a guest role in the last The Rockford Files reunion TV film, The Rockford Files: If It Bleeds... It Leads. In 1997, he played Ebeneezer Scrooge in the yearly Madison Square Garden production of A Christmas Carol. He continued his career in the late 1990s and 2000s with guest roles on Touched by an Angel, The King of Queens, Gilmore Girls, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Hot in Cleveland. He also narrated episodes of Biography and The American Experience, and voiced Dr. Selig on the animated series The Zeta Project. In 2002, Linden received a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars.[19]

In 2008, he played Arvide Abernathy in Guys and Dolls at Hilbert Circle Theatre. Linden continued to have an active stage career. He appeared in the Toronto production of Tuesdays with Morrie in 2009.[20] In July 2011, he appeared opposite Christina Pickles in the Colony Theatre's production of On Golden Pond.[21] In 2011, Linden starred in a touring production of Shine featuring local professional talent.[22] Linden also starred in Under My Skin, which premiered at the Pasadena Playhouse on September 19, 2012, and ran through October 2012.[23] In 2013, Linden guest-starred in a season eight episode of Supernatural as a rabbi. In 2014, Linden guest-starred in an episode of the comedy series 2 Broke Girls. In 2015, he appeared at the Old Globe Theatre in the West Coast premiere of The Twenty Seventh Man starring as Yevgeny Zunser.[24]



After the success of Barney Miller, Linden decided to revive his music career with a nightclub act. In his act, Linden played the clarinet, performed pop and Broadway standards backed by a big band, and discussed his life and career.[9][25]

In March 2011, he began touring with the cabaret show An Evening with Hal Linden: I'm Old Fashioned. The show, which ran through 2012, was later released on DVD. In April 2011, Linden released his first album, It's Never Too Late. The album features a collection of jazz, Broadway and pop standards that Linden began recording around the time he was touring in the early 1980s. Due to a lack of interest, he shelved the songs. Linden decided to finish the album on the advice of his tour booker.[26]

Personal life


Linden is the spokesman for the Jewish National Fund, a position he has held since 1997.[27]

Linden met dancer Fran Martin while doing summer stock in 1955. They married in 1958 and had four children.[8] Martin died in 2010.[21]

In 1984, Linden narrated a short film on former President Harry S. Truman, which was shown during that year's Democratic National Convention.[28]

Broadway credits

Date Production Role
November 29, 1956 – March 7, 1959 Bells Are Ringing Jeff Moss (Replacement)
December 16, 1960 – June 3, 1961 Wildcat Matt (Replacement)
May 8, 1962 - December 9, 1962 Anything Goes (Off-Broadway revival) Billy Crocker
November 10 – 21, 1964 Something More! Dick
October 17, 1965 – June 11, 1966 On a Clear Day You Can See Forever Dr. Mark Bruckner, Edward Moncrief
April 11, 1967 – January 13, 1968 Illya Darling No Face
April 4 – 27, 1968 The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N Yissel Fishbein
October 16, 1969 – January 10, 1970 Three Men on a Horse Charlie
October 19, 1970 – January 1, 1972 The Rothschilds Mayer Rothschild
January 26 – 29, 1972 The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window Sidney Brustein
December 9, 1973 – February 3, 1974 The Pajama Game Sid Sorokin
November 19, 1985 – January 17, 1988 I'm Not Rappaport Nat (Replacement)
March 18, 1993 – July 16, 1994 The Sisters Rosensweig Mervyn Kant (Replacement)
April 29 – August 2002 Cabaret Herr Schultz (Replacement)
April 24 – May 13, 2001 The Gathering Gabe

Industrial musicals

Year Production Company
1963 Going Great! Rambler Motors
1966 Diesel Dazzle Detroit Diesel Corporation


Year Title Role Notes
1960 Bells Are Ringing Singer of "The Midas Touch"
1964 That Man from Rio Voice role English version
Alternative title: L'Homme de Rio
1967 Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster Akira Takarada Voice, English version
1968 Destroy All Monsters Akira Kubo Voice, English version
1979 When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? Richard Ethridge
1980 Deathquake Narrator English version
1988 A New Life Mel Arons
1996 Just Friends Mr. Barton
1997 The Others Principal Richard Meltzer
1997 Out to Sea Mac Valor
1999 Jump Shrink
2001 Dumb Luck Blaine Mitchell
2002 Time Changer The Dean
2005 Freezerburn Roderick Carr the Cult Leader
2008 Light Years Away Grandpa Sommers
2016 Stevie D Max Levine
2018 The Samuel Project Samuel
2019 Grand-Daddy Day Care Gabe
2023 You People Mr. Greenwald

Year Title Role Notes
1957 Producers' Showcase Episode: "Ruggles of Red Gap"
1963 Car 54, Where Are You? Assistant DA Clark Episode: "Joan Crawford Didn't Say No"
1969 Search for Tomorrow Larry Carter Unknown episodes
1970 Hastings Corner District Attorney Corey Honker/Morey Honker Television film
1972 Circle of Fear David Wells Segment: "Elegy for a Vampire"
1973 Mr. Inside/Mr. Outside Det. Lou Isaacs Television film
1973 The F.B.I Abel Norton "The Confession"
1975–1982 Barney Miller Capt. Barney Miller 170 episodes
1976 The Love Boat Andrew Canaan Television film
1976 How to Break Up a Happy Divorce Tony Bartlett Television film
1978 Dorothy Hamill Presents Winners Variety special
1980 Father Figure Howard Television film
1981 The Muppet Show Himself Season 5, Episode 17
1982 I Do! I Do! He (Michael) Television film
1983 Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land Josh Gilliam Television film
1983 The Other Woman Lou Chadway Television film
1984 Second Edition Cliff Penrose Television film
1985 My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn Jack L. Warner Television film
1986 Blacke's Magic Alexander Blacke 13 episodes
1987 The Grand Knockout Tournament Himself Television special; provided commentary for U.S. telecast
1989 Dream Breakers Harry Palliser Television film
1990 The Ray Bradbury Theater Captain Black Episode: "Mars Is Heaven"
1991 The Golden Girls John Neretti Episode: "What a Difference a Date Makes"
1992–1993 Jack's Place Jack Evans 18 episodes
1994 American Experience Narrator Episode: "America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference"
1994 CBS Schoolbreak Special Rabbi Markovitz Episode: "The Writing On the Wall"
1994–1995 The Boys Are Back Fred Hansen 18 episodes
1995 The Colony Philip Denig Television film
1996 Nowhere Man Senator Wallace Episode: "Gemini"
1996-2001 Touched by an Angel Various roles Two episodes
1998 Biography Narrator Episode: "Confucius: Words of Wisdom"
1998 Killers in the House Arthur Pendleton Television film
1999 The Nanny Maury Sherry Episode: "California, Here We Come"
1999 The Rockford Files: If It Bleeds... It Leads Ernie Landale Television film
1999 The Drew Carey Show Mr. Van Zandt Episode: "Brotherhood of Man"
2000 Rude Awakening Judge Howard Barrett Episode: "Judging Billie"
2001 Lloyd in Space Old Lloyd Nebulon Voice, episode: "Halloween Scary Fun Action Plan"
2002 Gilmore Girls Chad Episode: "There's the Rub"
2002 The Zeta Project Dr. Eli Selig Voice, episode: "The Hologram Man"
2002 The Glow Arnold Janusz Television film
2003 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Mr. Turner Episode: "Suite Sorrow"
2004 Will & Grace Alan Episode: "A Gay/December Romance"
2005 Huff Judge Bork Episode: "The Sample Closet"
2005 The King of Queens Bernard Episode: "Catching Hell"
2006 Living with Fran Hal Episode: "The Whole Clan with Fran"
2006–2007 The Bold and the Beautiful Jerry Kramer Six episodes
2008 A Kiss at Midnight Arthur Wright Television film
2010 In Security Television film
2010 Hot in Cleveland Alex Episode: "Meet the Parents"
2011 Outside the Box Father Merrin Unknown episodes
2012 NTSF:SD:SUV:: C.T. Dalton Episode: "Prairie Dog Companion"
2013 The Mindy Project Manny Episode: "Mindy's Brother"
2013 Supernatural Rabbi Isaac Bass Episode: "Everybody Hates Hitler"
2014 2 Broke Girls Lester Episode: "And the New Lease on Life"
2016 Royal Pains Dr. Joe Whitcomb Episode: "Saab Story"
2016–2021 American Housewife MR. Montez Episode: "Krampus Katie"
2018 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Leonard Maxwell Episode: "Mama"
2019 Grey's Anatomy Bird Episode: "Reunited"
2024 Hacks Biff Cliff Episode: "Bulletproof"


Year Award Category Title of work
1971 Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical The Rothschilds
1983 Daytime Emmy Award Special Classification of Outstanding Individual Achievement - Performers FYI
1984 Daytime Emmy Award Special Classification of Outstanding Individual Achievement - Performers FYI
1995 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Performer in a Children's Special CBS Schoolbreak Special


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  2. ^ Current Biography Yearbook. H. W. Wilson Company. 1987. p. 364.
  3. ^ Bradley, Betsy (December 11, 1990). "Herman Ridder Junior High School (Public School 98)" (PDF). Landmarks Preservation Commission. p. 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  4. ^ Bordman, Gerald; Hischak, Thomas S. (2004). The Oxford Companion to American Theatre (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 389. ISBN 978-0195169867. linden.
  5. ^ a b Schleier, Curt (August 14, 1998). "It's Easy Being Green: Hal Linden has played 'old' before, so taking over for Eli Wallach as the cranky octogenarian in 'Visiting Mr. Green' is a natural". The New York Jewish Week. p. 30.
  6. ^ Zosky Proulx, Brenda (July 19, 1982). "'Barney Miller's' Hal Linden is his own toughest critic". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
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  9. ^ a b Stewart, Zan (May 17, 1996). "Hal Linden: Song and Dance (and Clarinet) Man". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Sharbutt, Jay (March 29, 1978). "Getting to the top wasn't in Hal Linden's career plan". St. Petersburg Times. p. 3D. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  11. ^ Bordman, p.35
  12. ^ Everett, William A.; Laird, Paul R. (September 17, 2009). The A to Z of the Broadway Musical (94 ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 300. ISBN 978-0810870444.
  13. ^ Roberts, Jerry (June 5, 2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Vol. 1. Scarecrow Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-0810863781.
  14. ^ Lavin, Cheryl (April 26, 1987). "Up Front: First Person". The Baltimore Sun. p. SM2.
  15. ^ "Fun Facts About St. Elsewhere". PopCulturePassionistas.com. August 17, 2015. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  16. ^ McAlister, Nancy (May 22, 1992). "Welcome to 'Jack's Place'". The Vindicator. Youngstown, Ohio. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  17. ^ Margulies, Lee (May 22, 1995). "'General Hospital' Leads the Field in Daytime Emmys Television: CBS takes most awards, and several long-running serials make strong showings". Los Angeles Times. p. 5.
  18. ^ "Hal Linden will fill a rare villain role". Reading Eagle. May 1, 1995. p. A10. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  19. ^ Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated Archived October 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Hetrick, Adam (February 10, 2009). "Hal Linden to Star in Toronto Production of Tuesdays with Morrie". Playbill. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  21. ^ a b Behrens, Deborah (July 27, 2011). "Hal Linden and Christina Pickles Summer On Golden Pond". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 27, 2015. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  22. ^ "The NOLA Premiere Cast of 'Shine' performs on ABC 26 'Good Morning New Orleans' 11/14/2011". Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021 – via YouTube.
  23. ^ Jones, Kenneth (August 14, 2012). "Hal Linden, Megan Sikora, Matt Walton, Erin Cardillo Among Stars of Under My Skin Premiere at Pasadena Playhouse". Playbill. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  24. ^ "Latest News". Old Globe Theatre. February 25, 2015. Archived from the original on February 27, 2015.
  25. ^ "Hal Linden Never Says No". The Milwaukee Journal. April 8, 1979. Retrieved February 8, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ King, Susan (May 20, 2011). "Hal Linden can still hold a note". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  27. ^ Cohen, Erin (September 17, 2004). "Linden turned an 'interest into a passion' with JNF". Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  28. ^ Kornacki, Steve (2018). The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism. HarperCollins. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-06-243898-0. Retrieved August 7, 2019.