Cliff Gorman
Gorman in An Unmarried Woman (1978)
Joel Joshua Goldberg

(1936-10-13)October 13, 1936
Queens, New York City, U.S.
DiedSeptember 5, 2002(2002-09-05) (aged 65)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Years active1968–2002
Gayle Gorman
(m. 1963)

Joel Joshua Goldberg (October 13, 1936 – September 5, 2002), known professionally as Cliff Gorman, was an American actor.[1] He won an Obie Award in 1968 for the stage presentation of The Boys in the Band,[1] and went on to reprise his role in the 1970 film version.[2]

Life and career

Gorman was born Joel Joshua Goldberg in Queens, New York, the son of Jewish parents, Ethel (née Kaplan) and Samuel Goldberg, who later changed their surname to Gorman.[3][4] He attended the High School of Music & Art in Manhattan.[1]

Gorman won a Tony Award in 1972 for playing Lenny Bruce in the play Lenny.[1] Although the film version, directed by Bob Fosse, featured Dustin Hoffman, Gorman was recruited to portray a Dustin Hoffman-like character portraying Lenny Bruce in a side-story in Fosse's autobiographical film All That Jazz (1979).[5][6]

He played Joseph Goebbels in the 1981 television film The Bunker, and co-starred as Lt. Andrews in the film Angel (1984). He had roles in the films Cops and Robbers (1973), Rosebud (1975), Brinks: The Great Robbery (1976), An Unmarried Woman (1978) with Jill Clayburgh, Night of the Juggler (1980), Hoffa (1992) with Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito, and Night and the City (1992).[citation needed] His TV work included performances in the series Law and Order, Murder, She Wrote, Friday the 13th: the Series, and the 1970s drama Police Story, written by former LAPD Detective Sergeant Joseph Wambaugh.[citation needed]

On the September 13, 1965 episode of To Tell The Truth, Gorman sat in seat #1 as an imposter for game #3 of the evening. He received two votes, one from Orson Bean, and one from Kitty Carlisle. When asked what he actually did for a living, he responded that he sold room air conditioners for the Republic Water Heater Company.[7]

Personal life

Gorman and his wife cared for his fellow The Boys in the Band cast member Robert La Tourneaux in the last few months of his battle against AIDS, until La Tourneaux's death on June 3, 1986.[8][9]


On September 5, 2002, Gorman died of leukemia at the age of 65 at his home in Manhattan.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1969 Justine "Toto"
1970 The Boys in the Band Emory
1973 Cops and Robbers Tom
1975 Rosebud Hamlekh
1975 The Silence Stanley Greenberg TV film
1976 Brinks: The Great Robbery Danny Conforti TV film
1977 Having Babies II Arthur Magee TV film
1978 An Unmarried Woman Charlie
1979 All That Jazz Davis Newman
1980 Night of the Juggler Gus Soltic
1981 The Bunker Joseph Goebbels TV film
1984 Angel Lieutenant Andrews
1992 Night and the City Phil Nasseros
1992 Hoffa Soloman "Solly" Stein
1999 Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai Sonny Valerio
2000 King of the Jungle Jack
2003 Kill the Poor Yakov Posthumous release


  1. ^ a b c d e "Cliff Gorman, 65, Portrayer Of Lenny Bruce on Broadway". The New York Times. September 13, 2002.
  2. ^ Canby, Vincent (March 18, 1970). "The Boys in the Band (1970)". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
  3. ^ "Cliff Gorman Biography (1936–2002)". Film Reference.
  4. ^ Flatley, Guy (June 6, 1971). ". . . But Cliff Is a Cool 'Lenny'; Cliff Gorman Is a Cool 'Lenny'". The New York Times. p. D1.
  5. ^ Canby, Vincent (December 20, 1979). "All That Jazz (1979) The Screen: Roy Scheider Stars in 'All That Jazz':Peter Pan Syndrome". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Simonson, Robert (September 13, 2002). "Cliff Gorman, Broadway's Lenny, Is Dead at 65". Playbill. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  7. ^ "1956–67 Episode Guide "To Tell The Truth", CBS Nighttime series". To Tell the Truth on the Web. September 13, 1965.
  8. ^ Anderson-Minshal, Diane (May 16, 2018). "Why the Gay and Bi Men of 'Boys in the Band' Still Matter". The Advocate. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  9. ^ Connors, Joanne (October 2, 2011). "Meet the characters in 'The Boys in the Band,' the pathbreaking gay drama put on by Convergence-Continuum". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved July 19, 2018.