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Paul Dooley Bio, Life, and Career:
Paul Dooley is a well-known American character actor, writer, and comedian. He was born Paul Brown on February 22, 1928, in the United States. He is famous for his parts in the films Breaking Away, Popeye, Sixteen Candles, and a number of mockumentaries directed by Christopher Guest. He was one of the co-creators of the show The Electric Company on PBS.
Paul Dooley Brown was born on February 22, 1928, in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He was the son of Ruth Irene (née Barringer), a housewife, and Pete James Brown, an assembly line worker. Dooley’s mother was a homemaker, and his father worked in a factory.
According to what he has claimed, there were not many cultural options available in Parkersburg, therefore the city did not have many attractions that intrigued him. He was especially fond of Jimmy Durante and other comedians that might be heard on the radio.
Dooley was a cartoonist when he was younger and created a comic for a newspaper in his hometown of Parkersburg, West Virginia. In 1946, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served for two years. After his discharge in 1952, he returned to his hometown and completed his studies at West Virginia University. Dooley moved to New York City immediately following his graduation from West Virginia University in order to launch a career in the entertainment industry. At first, he was able to support himself by performing as a clown at children’s birthday parties.
After moving to New York, he quickly became successful on the stage and became a regular. In the early 1950s, he made his debut on the stage in New York, and it was there that Mike Nichols first saw him perform. When he was cast in the 1965 Broadway production of The Odd Couple, the director provided him with his first acting opportunity.
Dooley had an appearance in the play as Oscar’s poker buddy Homer “Speed” Deegan, and he also understudied Art Carney, who was playing the character of Felix Unger. When Carney eventually left the production, Dooley took over the role of Felix. Dooley was given a referral to the William Morris Agency by Walter Matthau, who portrayed Oscar Madison in the play. As a result of this, Dooley was given representation by the agency.
Dooley, who was also interested in comedy, worked as a stand-up comedian for five years, finally obtaining a spot on The Tonight Show. Additionally, he was a member of the Compass Players and The Second City company in New York City. Alan Arkin and Alan Alda were both actors who were involved with The Second City at the same time.
In addition to that, Dooley was a writer. He conceived of and served as one of the show’s chief writers for The Electric Company, which was broadcast on PBS in the United States and was produced by the Children’s Television Workshop. Dooley penned a series of short sketches titled “Runners,” which featured between eight and ten characters each and were presented over the period of many weeks.
After a number of years had passed, he finally learned that Carl Reiner had advocated for him to get the job. Easy Reader, played by Morgan Freeman, and Fargo North, Decoder, played by Skip Hinnant, were two of the characters that Dooley invented for The Electric Company. Love of Chair, a parody of soap operas, was another one of Dooley’s creations.
Together with Andrew Duncan and Lynne Lipton, Dooley established a production firm known as All Over Creation with the intention of developing ads for broadcast on radio and television. They created over 500 commercials for television and 1,000 for the radio.
A figure in television ads called Paul the Gorilla was modeled after him, and his name was given to the gorilla. Dooley is best known for his roles as Sarge in the Disney/Pixar films Cars, Cars 2, and Cars 3, as well as his appearances in films such as Sixteen Candles, Popeye, Raggedy Ann, and Andy: A Musical Adventure, and Breaking Away. He also provided his voice for the character of Popeye.
It is well known that he is a prolific journeyman character actor and that he has worked frequently with Robert Altman. Dooley was cast in Altman’s film A Wedding after the director of that movie, Robert Altman, saw him in the Jules Feiffer comedy Hold Me. Both he and Altman contributed to the writing of the movie Health.
Although Jim Belushi took his place in the theatrical version of Little Shop of Horrors, he appeared in the director’s cut of the film as well.
Dooley has collaborated with Christopher Guest on a number of films during the course of their careers. Since the 18th of November in 1984, Dooley has been married to Winnie Holzman, whom he initially met while taking an improv acting class in New York. The couple has a daughter named Savannah and currently resides in Toluca Lake, which is located in the city of Los Angeles.
On September 19, 1958, he had a failed marriage to Donna Lee Wasser, which ultimately resulted in their splitting up. He is a father to three young children from a previous marriage.
His autobiography, titled Movie Dad: Finding Myself and My Family, On Screen and Off, was published the following year in 2022.
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