If ever there was a "late bloomer," it was American comedian Rodney Dangerfield. His father was a vaudeville pantomimist who was known professionally as Phil Roy, thus when Dangerfield struck out on his own stand-up comedy career at age 19 (he'd been writing jokes for other comics since 15), he called himself Jack Roy. For nine years he labored in some of the worst clubs on the East Coast, giving it all up at age 28 in order to support his new wife. Unfortunately, the marriage was an unhappy one, soon ending in divorce. In 1963 the comic returned to performing, using the name "Rodney Dangerfield" to distance himself from his miserable "Jack Roy" days. Four more years passed before Dangerfield finally got his big break on The Ed Sullivan Show, for which he'd auditioned by sneaking in during a dress rehearsal. By this time, Dangerfield had fully developed his belligerently neurotic stage persona, tugging at his tie and mopping his brow while he delineated the variety of ways in which he "don't get no respect." On top at last, Dangerfield opened his own nightclub in 1969, where many major comics of the 1970s and 1980s got their first opportunities; fiercely competitive onstage, Dangerfield is known to be more than generous to new talent offstage. In films since his turn as a nasty theatre manager in the 1970 low-budgeter The Projectionist, Dangerfield has exuded a movie image somewhat different than his paranoid nightclub character; he often plays a crude-and-rude "nouveau riche" type who delights in puncturing the pomposity of his "old money" opponents (Caddyshack). Rodney Dangerfield's best screen role was, significantly, his nicest--in Back to School (1985), he played a blunt but decent self-made millionaire who decides to join his son in getting an expensive college education.