Herb Edelman
Edelman as Bert on The Good Guys, 1969
Herbert Edelman

(1933-11-05)November 5, 1933
DiedJuly 21, 1996(1996-07-21) (aged 62)
Resting placeMontefiore Cemetery, Springfield Gardens, Queens, New York, U.S.
EducationBrooklyn College
Alma materCornell University
Years active1963–1995
TelevisionThe Golden Girls
The Good Guys
Big John, Little John
(m. 1964; div. 1970)
PartnerChristina Pickles (1984–96)[1]
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Unit Armed Forces Radio Service
Battles/warsKorean War

Herbert Edelman (November 5, 1933 – July 21, 1996) was an American actor of stage, film and television.[1] He was twice nominated for an Emmy Award for his television work. One of his best-known roles was as Stanley Zbornak, the ex-husband of Dorothy Zbornak (played by Bea Arthur) on The Golden Girls.[1] He also had a recurring role on the 1980s medical drama St. Elsewhere.

Early life and career

Edelman was born in New York City in the borough of Brooklyn. Before becoming an actor, Edelman studied to become a veterinarian at Cornell University, but left during his first year. After serving in the United States Army as an announcer for Armed Forces Radio, he enrolled in Brooklyn College as a theater student, but eventually dropped out. He later worked as a hotel manager and as a taxicab driver. One of his fares was director Mike Nichols,[2] who in 1963 cast Edelman in his breakthrough Broadway role, as the bewildered telephone repairman in Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park. Edelman reprised his role in the 1967 film version (starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda).[3]

He appeared as Murray the Cop in the movie version of Simon's The Odd Couple (1968) and later appeared in Simon's California Suite (1978). He also had a role in The Way We Were (1973)[4] and in an installment of the Japanese movie series Otoko wa Tsurai yo in 1979.

He remains best known for his three decades in television, usually as a co-star, recurring character, or guest star on CHIPS, The Golden Girls, That Girl, Love, American Style, The Streets of San Francisco, Maude, Cannon, Happy Days, Welcome Back, Kotter, Kojak, Fantasy Island, Cagney & Lacey, and MacGyver, but occasionally in a lead role. In 1976, he starred in the Saturday morning children's series Big John, Little John, as well as The Good Guys with Bob Denver (in what was Denver's first series after Gilligan's Island), from 1968 to 1970.

He also appeared with Bill Bixby and Valerie Perrine in Bruce Jay Friedman's Steambath, a controversial PBS dramedy, during 1973. From 1984 to 1988, he had a recurring role on St. Elsewhere. Edelman also appeared in ten episodes of Murder, She Wrote between 1984 and 1995,[1] most frequently appearing as New York Police Department Lieutenant Artie Gelber. His last role was in an episode of Burke's Law.[3]

Personal life and death

Edelman was married to soap opera actress Louise Sorel from 1964 to 1970; he had two children, Briana Edelman and Jacy Edelman.[1] He was romantically linked with actress Christina Pickles from the mid-1980s until his death.

Herbert Edelman died of emphysema on July 21, 1996, in Los Angeles at the age of 62; he was then interred at Montefiore Cemetery in Springfield Gardens, Queens.[5]



Year Title Role Notes
1967 In Like Flint Russian Premier
1967 Barefoot in the Park Harry Pepper
1968 P.J. Charlie Alternative title: New Face in Hell
1968 I Love You, Alice B. Toklas Murray Alternative title: Kiss My Butterfly
1968 The Odd Couple Murray
1972 The War Between Men and Women Howard Mann
1973 The Way We Were Bill Verso
1974 The Front Page Schwartz Credited as Herbert Edelman
1974 The Yakuza Wheat Alternative title: Brotherhood of the Yakuza
1975 Hearts of the West Polo Alternative title: Hollywood Cowboy
1976 Smash-Up on Interstate 5 Danny TV movie
1977 Charge of the Model T's Villa Nueva
1978 Goin' Coconuts Sid
1978 California Suite Harry Michaels
1979 Tora-san's Dream of Spring Michael Jordan 24th entry in the Japanese Otoko wa Tsurai yo series
1981 On the Right Track Sam
1983 Cracking Up Dr. Jonas Pletchick
1984 Wheels on Meals Matt Henry
1992 The Naked Truth Rupert Hess Credited as Herbert Edelman
1995 Cops n Roberts (final film role)


Year Title Role Notes
1964 The Reporter Benny Episode: "How Much for a Prince?"
1965 The Nurses Marco Episode: "The Witnesses"
1965 Honey West Moody Episode: "Live a Little... Kill a Little"
1966 Hey, Landlord Garvin Episode: "The Long Hot Bus"
1966 Occasional Wife Uncle Harry Episode: "Marriage Counselor"
1966 That Girl Eddie Episode: "Time for Arrest"
1967 The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. Mr. Asterick Episode: "The Furnace Flats Affair"
1967 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Seth Swine Episode: "The Reason Nobody Hardly Ever Seen a Fat Outlaw in the Old West Is as Follows"
1967 Accidental Family Howard Episode: "If You Knew Martha"
1967 The Flying Nun Albion "Al" Caine Episode: "Ah Love, Could You and I Conspire?"
1968–70 The Good Guys Bert Gramus 42 episodes
1971 The Bill Cosby Show Mr. Maher Episode: "Tobacco Road"
1971 Bewitched Col. Bringham Episode: "This Little Piggie"
1971 McMillan & Wife Gregory Constantine Episode: "Once Upon a Dead Man"
1971 Mission: Impossible Frank Mason Episode: "Run for the Money"
1972 Banacek Joe Taddenhurst Episode: "Project Phoenix"
1972 The Bold Ones: The New Doctors Howard Feinstein Episode: "A Quality of Fear"
1972 Temperatures Rising Dr. Patterson Episode: "RX: Christmas"
1973 Ironside David Wollens Episode: "Murder by One"
1973 The New Dick Van Dyke Show George Benson Episode: "One of the Boys"
1973 The Partridge Family Darby Willis Episode: "The Strike-Out King"
1974 Hawkins Lt. Horowitz Episode: "Murder on the Thirteenth Floor"
1974 Maude Woody Episode: "Maude the Boss"
1975 Happy Days Burglar Episode: "The Cunningham Caper"
1975 Barney Miller Alan Schuster Episode: "The Guest"
1975 Medical Center Brannigan Episode: "Gift from a Killer"
1976 Jigsaw John Lieutenant Hill Episode: "Sand Trap"
1976 Big John Little John Big John Martin 13 episodes
1977 Blansky's Beauties Sindu 2 episodes
1977 Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected Don Lucas Episode: "You're Not Alone"
1977 The San Pedro Beach Bums Schwann Episode: "The Angels and the Bums"
1978 CHiPs Sanders Episode: "Rainy Day"
1978 Chico and the Man Doctor Episode: "The Hot Rock"
1978 Charlie's Angels Joey January Episode: "Angels in Vegas"
1979 The MacKenzies of Paradise Cove Big Jim 2 episodes
1980–81 Ladies' Man Reggie 16 episodes
1981–82 Strike Force Commissioner Herb Klein 20 episodes
1982–83 Nine to Five Harry Nussbaum 8 episodes
1984 Trapper John, M.D. Dr. Haller Episode: "A Little Knife Music"
1984-88 St. Elsewhere Richard Clarendon 17 episodes
1984–95 Murder, She Wrote Lieutenant Artie Gelber, and others 10 episodes
1985 The Fall Guy Hal Vargas movie producer Episode: "Reel Trouble"
1985 The Paper Chase Dr. Arnie Samuels Episode: "The Big D"
1985 Highway to Heaven Dr. Cohn 2 episodes
1985 Hardcastle and McCormick Harry Baxter Episode: "Games People Play"
1985–92 The Golden Girls Stan Zbornak 26 episodes
1987 Matlock Arthur Rydell Episode: "The Rat Pack"
1988 Beauty and the Beast Harold Levinson Episode: "Temptation"
1989 The Famous Teddy Z Lassister Fogel Episode: "The Dark Closet"
1989 Out of This World Stanley Mansfield Episode: "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow"
1989–90 thirtysomething Murray Steadman 2 episodes
1990 The Bradys Gene Dickinson 2 episodes
1990 Knots Landing Sergeant Levine 5 episodes
1991 MacGyver Gorman Episode: "Faith, Hope and Charity"
1992 Batman: The Animated Series Stern 2 episodes
1992–93 L.A. Law Judge Al Jones 2 episodes
1993 The Golden Palace Stanley Zbornak Episode: "One Angry Stan"
1994 The Mommies Therapist Episode: "The Exercist"

Award nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1987 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series The Golden Girls Nominated
1988 Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d e "Herb Edelman, 62, A Character Actor". The New York Times. July 27, 1996.
  2. ^ "Services set for actor Herb Edelman". United Press International. July 24, 1996. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b Hayward, Anthony (29 July 1996). "Obituary : Herb Edelman". The Independent. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  4. ^ Howard, Alan R. (16 October 2018). "'The Way We Were': THR's 1973 Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  5. ^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (Third ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company. p. 219. ISBN 978-0-7864-7992-4. Retrieved 23 September 2016.