Jerry Paris

Active - 1949 - 1986  |   Born - Jul 25, 1925   |   Died - Mar 31, 1986   |   Genres - Comedy

Share on

Biography by Bruce Eder

Born in San Francisco, Jerry Paris was a graduate of New York University and UCLA, and joined the Actors Studio after serving in the navy during World War II. His earliest stage performances were in productions of Medea, Anna Christie, and The Front Page. He entered films in 1950, and his early screen credits include Outrage, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Wild One, The Caine Mutiny, Marty, and The Naked and the Dead. Paris was also a regular on the series The Untouchables from 1959 thru 1961 in the role of G-man Martin Flaherty. In 1961, he joined the cast of The Dick Van Dyke Show as Jerry Helper, the next door neighbor to Rob and Laura Petrie. During the early run of the show, Paris began pestering producer Carl Reiner for a chance to direct, and was given his opportunity in 1962 with the classic episode "It May Look Like a Walnut," a comic take on science fiction chillers that was highlighted by the spectacle of costar Mary Tyler Moore sliding out of a closet filled with 1100 pounds of walnuts. Paris became a regular director on the show and won and Emmy in 1964 for his work. He subsequently went into feature filmmaking, including Viva Max and The Star-Spangled Girl, before returning to television, directing the pilot episode of Love American Style. He directed 35 episodes of The Odd Couple, and later spent a decade as producer and director of Happy Days, as well as directing the pilot episode of Laverne and Shirley. Paris created the character of Mork, played by Robin Williams, who was later spun off into the series Mork and Mindy. Paris returned to feature filmmaking in the late '80s with Police Academy 2 and Police Academy 3. He died in 1993 after a long struggle with cancer.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography