Selma Diamond as she appeared in her role as "Selma Hacker" on "Night Court".
|General Actor Information|
|Born:||August 6, 1920|
|Birthplace||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Died||May 13, 1985(aged 64)|
|Death Location||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Actress, TV/Radio Personality|
|Appeared on:||Night Court|
|36 episodes, Seasons 1 and 2|
|Appears as:||Selma Hacker|
After graduation from New York University in the late 1940's Selma, who was born in London, Ontario, Canada and raised in Brooklyn, NY, published cartoons and humour essays in The New Yorker before making the jump to radio and, eventually, television. Her earliest radio writing credits included You Bet Your Life, Duffy's Tavern, and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. In 1950, she became one of the staffers hired by legendary comedy writer Goodman Ace (who'd previously hired her for some work on Danny Kaye's short-lived 1940s' radio show) for The Big Show (1950–52), the ninety-minute weekly radio variety program hosted by Tallulah Bankhead and featuring some of the biggest entertainers of the era.
She moved on to television as one of the writers for Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca's groundbreaking Your Show of Shows. Diamond was reputed to have been the inspiration for the Sally Rogers character on The Dick Van Dyke Show, which centered on the head writer for a fictitious, mercurial television comedian. While writing for another Caesar vehicle, Caesar's Hour, Diamond earned an Emmy nomination. She also worked for Goodman Ace once again, writing for Perry Como's successful television series.
By the 1960s and 1970s, Diamond was familiar as a frequent guest on The Jack Paar Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and she made numerous film appearances, including 1963's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (as the unseen telephone voice of Spencer Tracy's wife, Ginger Culpepper), the 1973 made-for-TV sports/drama Bang the Drum Slowly (as hotel switchboard operator Tootsie), and All of Me (as Margo). In 1982, she appeared in My Favorite Year with a memorable small role as wardrobe mistress for King Kaiser's Comedy Calvalcade, a fictional show which clearly echoed the time and venue of her work for Sid Caesar. She was also a semi-regular for four seasons of the Ted Knight comedy series Too Close For Comfort.
The diminutive Selma, who, like her character on Night Court, Selma Hacker, was a chain smoker, was stricken with lung cancer and died at age 64 in Los Angeles. Coincidentally, her successor playing the female bailiff, Florence Halop, who played the part of Florence Kleiner, also died of lung cancer after one year on the cast of the series.
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