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"I asked him to the banana in the ear shtick."

- Avery Schreiber with Fozzie Bear on The Muppet Show

AVERY SCHREIBER

Younger generations knew Avery Schreiber for his work on a series of popular Doritos corn chip ads in a sundry of disguises (chef, sultan, pilot), all of them perturbed by people loudly crunching on the popular snack.

Avery Schreiber (April 9th, 1935 to January 7th, 2002) was an American comedian and actor, a veteran of stage, television, and film. Schreiber started his career in Chicago at the Goodman Theatre.

He joined The Second City, where he met and later teamed with Jack Burns to form the comedy team of Burns and Schreiber (pictured below).

They recorded several comedy albums and appeared on numerous television shows.

Burns was the slimmer, chatty, clean-cut, dunderhead and Schreiber was his Oliver Hardy counterpart who bore the brunt of Burns' verbal drone.

Schreiber was the rumpled, gap-toothed, hefty-sized master of the slow boil and stood out among the crowd with his huge trademark walrus mustache, thick thatch of curly black hair, slim teddy bear eyes and mischievous grin.

Together the pair became a staple of TV variety shows, mainstays on such classic entertainment as "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Dean Martin Show" and "The Hollywood Palace."

Breaking up once in 1968 because they felt stale, Burns and Schreiber reteamed for a time in 1972, but split again later when Burns decided to leave the limelight and devote himself exclusively to writing.

In 1976, former partner Burns led the writing team for The Muppet Show's first season; Schreiber made an appearance as the guest star of episode 116.

At age 17 Schreiber enlisted in the Armed Services and eventually became a part of the All-Army Talent Show. This satisfaction of putting on variety shows and entertaining prompted his move into a career of comedy. Winning a scholarship to the Pasadena Playhouse, he instead decided to stay closer to home and attend night school at the University of Chicago while studying his craft at the Goodman Theatre.

A cabaret show brought him to the attention of the renown improv troupe Second City in 1960, where he remained for five years developing sketches and characters. Among the routines Avery developed during his years at Second City was the "samurai landlord". John Belushi would later make the routine famous on Saturday Night Live (1975) with his samurai warrior taking various occupations.

Jack Paar first introduced "Burns & Schreiber" to TV on his "Tonight Show" program in 1964. The duo's most identifiable skit was the "taxi cab" routine with Avery as a beleaguered cabbie at the mercy of Burns' relentlessly gabby and nonsensical customer, with Burns punctuating every conversation with a repeated "Huh?...Huh?...Huh?"

Political satire was also a strong, popular platform for Schreiber both with Burns (the album "The Watergate Comedy Hour") and without. Schreiber was at his very best skewering politicos. Both trained actors, they also gave each other the freedom to work solo. Burns would repeat as Deputy Warren Ferguson on The Andy Griffith Show (1960) for a time and Schreiber was a regular as the broadly villainous Captain Mancini on My Mother the Car (1965). At their peak, they appeared as regulars on the summer replacement musical variety series Our Place (1967), then earned the right to front their own summer series with The Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour (1973).

    Selected Avery Schreiber TVography

A Pup Named Scooby-Doo
- voice work (1988)

Animaniacs
- voice work (1993 - 1995)

Chico and the Man
- The Misfortune Teller (1975)
- Play Gypsy (1975)

Becker
- Linda Quits (1999)

Blossom
- Beach Blanket Blossom (1994)

The Doris Day Show
- Kidnapped (1970)

DuckTales
- Duck to the Future (voice work, 1987)

The Dukes of Hazzard
- Double Sting (1979)

The Fall Guy
- Losers Weepers (1984)

Fantasy Island
- The Curse of the Moreaus/My Man Friday (1982)

Get Smart
- The Worst Best Man (1968 below left)

The Ghost & Mrs. Muir
- The Firehouse Five Plus Ghost (1969)

Love, American Style
- Love and the Advice Givers (1969)
- Love and the Perfect Wife (1972)
- Love and the Opera Singer (1973)

The Love Boat -
- Marooned/The Search/Isaac's Holiday (1978)
- Santa, Santa, Santa/Another Dog Gone Christmas/Noel's Christmas Carol (1984)

McCloud
- Fifth Man in a String Quartet (1972)

More Wild Wild West (TV Movie 1980)

The Mothers-In-Law
- And Baby Makes Four (1969)

My Mother the Car
- as Capt. Manzini (12 episodes, 1965-1966)

The Muppet Show
- guest star (1976 below right)

The Rockford Files
- Rattlers' Class of '63 (1976)

That Girl
- Mission Improbable (1969)
- Counter Proposal (1970)

Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats
- voice work (1987)

The Twilight Zone
- Act Break/The Burning Man/Dealer's Choice (1985)

    Selected Avery Schreiber Filmography

The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977) with Marty Feldman
The Concorde... Airport '79 (1979)
Cannonball Run II (1984)
Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)

Schreiber kept close ties to the stage throughout his career. Directing a Broadway revues and performing at Second City. Schreiber also performed in productions of "Hamlet," "Showboat" and "Fiddler on the Roof." In addition to acting, Schreiber taught improv theater in and out of his L.A.-based area. In 2003, the Avery Schreiber Playhouse in North Hollywood, California was founded in his name.

In 1994, Schreiber suffered a heart attack, aggravated by his diabetes. Although he survived triple by-pass surgery, he never fully recovered and died died at age 66 in Los Angeles of a heart attack. He was survived by his wife of 40 years, Rochelle Isaacs, and their two children, Jenny and Joshua.

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