Harry Anderson

Harry Anderson WML 2000
Name Harry "Laverne" Anderson
Born October 14, 1952
Place Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.
Occupation Actor, Writer, Director, Magician

Harry "Laverne" Anderson (born October 14, 1952) is an American actor, screenwriter, director and magician. He is best known for the role of Judge Harry Stone on the formerly popular NBC sitcom Night Court that ran from 1984 until 1992. In addition to eight appearance on Saturday Night Live/SNL between 1981 and 1985, Anderson had a recurring role as con man Harry "The Hat" Gittes on the sitcom Cheers (another popular series that has also ran on NBC as with Night Court) toured extensively as a magician and did several magic/comedy shows for broadcast including Harry Anderson's Sideshow in 1987.

Early LifeEdit

Anderson was born in Newport, Rhode Island. His first exposure to magic began when the Anderson family moved to Chicago. Anderson's father, who was a salesman, would occasionally take him to The Pump Room, the famous restaurant downstairs in the Ambassador East Hotel. There, Anderson discovered wise guys playing cards, hustling and occasionally performing magic tricks. The young Anderson became highly intrigued by the art of conjuring and wanted to learn more about the subject.

During his teen years, he had the opportunity to see legendary magician Harry Blackstone Sr. perform. Anderson was fascinated by the performance and in his after school time, would practice his magician skills. Anderson resided during high school in Orange County and Hollywood, California. He attended Buena Park High School then North Hollywood High School, graduating in 1970 as class valedictorian.

Anderson joined the Dante Magic Club where he met magicians Paul Harris and Paul Green. He also frequently the Magic Castle, where he befriended legendary magician Dai Vernon. At age 17, Anderson decided to move to San Francisco and worked the streets performing magic.


His many appearances on Saturday Night Live/SNL led to his role as Harry "The Hat" Gittes on the several seasons of the TV sitcom Cheers and eventually as Judge Harry Stone on another his television sitcom Night Court. Anderson went on to appear in numerous other TV specials and shows, including 12 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. As a magician, Anderson has toured extensively and performed many comedy/magic shows for clubs and broadcast including Harry Anderson's Sideshow in 1987. In 1990, he starred in the television adaptation of Stephen King's It as the adult Richie Tozier. Anderson starred in the TV sitcom Dave's World based loosely on the life and columns of humor columnist Dave Barry.

Together with longtime friend Turk Pipkin, Anderson wrote a book called Game You Can't Lose: A Guide for Suckers a collection of gags, cons, tricks and scams. First published in 1989. This title also contains a survey "Games You Can't Win" told from an insider's perspective. He appeared with Criss Angel in a TV special called The Science of Magic, later released on DVD. In November 2008, Anderson played himself of an episode of 30 Rock along with fellow Night Court cast members Markie Post and Charles Robinson.

Anderson kept a normally low profile after Dave's World was cancelled. Tired on L.A.'s glaring spotlight, Anderson moved from Pasadena, California to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2002. In the 1990s, he and his second wife Elizabeth (whom he met in New Orleans while she was bartending) opened a small shop in the French Quarter named "Sideshow" selling various magic, curiosities and apocrypha. In 2005, Anderson opened a nightclub in the French Quarter called "Oswald's Speakeasy" located at 133 Decatur Street at the corner of Esplanade Avenue. He performed a one-man show there called "Wise Guy".

In 2000, Anderson hosted a pilot for a revival of the classic panel game show What's My Line? for a potential primetime slot on CBS. however, it was later rejected in favor of the long-running reality show called Survivor.

Anderson appears in Hexing a Hurricane, a documentary about the first six month in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He and his wife Elizabeth sold Oswald's Speakeasy in October 2006. Anderson continues to present his evening show Wise Guy, which was originally developed for his theater in New Orleans.

Personal LifeEdit

A longtime fan of male singer Mel Torme, Anderson's character Judge Stone on Night Court was also especially a Torme fan; The singer appeared on the sitcom six times (as himself). Night Court's creator Reinhold Weege has stated the fact that Anderson was also a Torme fan was completely coincidental. Anderson was among the many people who delivered eulogies at the singer's funeral in 1999.

In August 2006, Anderson and his wife Elizabeth announced their decision to leave New Orleans and move to Ashville, North Carolina.

Goodson-Todman Show hostedEdit

What's My Line? (2000 Pilot)

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