Comedian Freddie Roman Passes Away at 85 | Playbill

Obituaries Comedian Freddie Roman Passes Away at 85

Mr. Roman was a member of the quickly dwindling Borscht Belt stand-up comedian community.

Freddie Roman, an observational stand-up comedian and comedy writer, passed away November 26. He was 85. Mr. Roman was a member of the quickly dwindling Borscht Belt stand-up comedian community that popularized a particularly Jewish sense of humor in the mid-20th century.

Born in Queens May 28, 1937, Mr. Roman's father was a shoe salesman while his uncle and grandfather owned the Crystal Spring Hotel in the Catskills. Mr. Roman began working as an emcee at the hotel on summer nights when he was 15, and was soon playing other small resorts in the area before he left show business for a short time to join his father in the shoe business.

The itch for an audience returned however, and Mr. Roman returned to the comedy stage. The comic headlined countless resort venues, including successful residencies at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip, and Harrah's Atlantic City.

On Broadway, Mr. Roman co wrote and starred in Catskills on Broadway, running for more than 450 performances in the early 1990s. He was a staple at Friars Club, who changed their two-year term policy to allow Mr. Roman to remain dean of the legendary organization for more than a decade until he relinquished the position to Larry King in 2014. Said Mr. Roman of his unprecedented tenure; "11 years ago I became president for two years. I'm like the Fidel Castro of comedians. I'm president for life."

    Mr. Roman was preceded in death by his son, Alan Kirschenbaum, and is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ethel, and his daughter Judy Levin.

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