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  • Bells Are Ringing

Bernie West Biography

  • Profession: Screenwriter, Show Creator, Producer
  • Born: May 30, 1918
  • Died: Jul 29, 2010

With his bald-headed, slightly toothy appearance, and New York accent, Bernie West was born to play comedy on-stage and in movies, and he later graduated to writing and producing it on television. The Bronx-born actor emerged on-stage in the 1950s, then made a feature film, the Arthur Freed-produced, Vincente Minnelli-directed adaptation of Bells Are Ringing at MGM, starring Judy Holliday. He played a rather prominent role as one of the Holliday character's more eccentric answering service clients, Dr. Joe Kitchell, a dentist who composes songs on his office's air hose. West also appeared in the role of Feinschveiger in the 1962 musical All-American, but it was on television that he was most visible in the 1960s, surfacing in small comedic roles on series such as Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.. In the early '70s, he entered into association with television producer Norman Lear. West served as a producer on All in the Family and also appeared onscreen, portraying a repairman in the pilot episode for the series Maude. He was later the producer of the Maude spin-off series Good Times, and then one of the co-creators and producers of the All in the Family spin-off The Jeffersons. West left Lear's orbit later in the 1970s to work with producer Donald Taffner, first serving as executive producer of Three's Company and later its spin-off series The Ropers. As a producer, he is sometimes credited as Bernard West. He later became one of the most frequently interviewed figures involved with television comedy of the 1970s and early '80s, and appeared in various documentaries about entertainment and popular culture, prior to his death from Alzheimer's-related complications in 2010. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi