Cliff Gorman

Cliff Gorman (October 13, 1936 – September 5, 2002) was an American stage and screen actor.[1] He won an Obie award in 1968 for the stage presentation of The Boys in the Band,[1] and went on to reprise his role in the 1970 film version.[2]

Cliff Gorman
Joel Joshua Goldberg

(1936-10-13)October 13, 1936
DiedSeptember 5, 2002(2002-09-05) (aged 65)
EducationHigh School of Music & Art
Years active1968–2002
Gayle Gorman (m. 1963)

Life and career

Gorman was born Joel Joshua Goldberg in Queens, New York, the son of Jewish parents, Ethel (née Kaplan) and Samuel Goldberg, who later changed their surname to Gorman.[3][4] He attended The High School of Music & Art in Manhattan.[1]

Gorman won a Tony Award in 1972 for playing Lenny Bruce in the play Lenny.[1] Although the film version, directed by Bob Fosse, featured Dustin Hoffman, Gorman was recruited to portray a Dustin Hoffman-like character portraying Lenny Bruce, in a side-story in Fosse's autobiographical film All That Jazz (1979).[5][6]

He played Joseph Goebbels in the 1981 TV movie The Bunker, and co-starred as Lt. Andrews in the film Angel (1984). He had roles in movies like Cops and Robbers (1973), Rosebud (1975), Brinks: The Great Robbery (1976), An Unmarried Woman (1978) with Jill Clayburgh, Night of the Juggler (1980), Hoffa (1992) with Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito, and Night and the City (1992). His TV work included performances in series like Law and Order, Murder, She Wrote, Friday the 13th: the Series, and the 1970s drama Police Story, written by former LAPD Detective Sergeant Joseph Wambaugh. For the September 13, 1965 episode of To Tell The Truth, Cliff Gorman sat in seat #1 as an imposter for game #3 of the evening. He received two votes, one from Orson Bean, and one from Kitty Carlisle. When asked what he actually did for a living, he responded that he sold room air conditioners for the Republic Water Heater Company.[7]

Personal life

Gorman and his wife cared for his fellow The Boys in the Band cast member Robert La Tourneaux in the last few months of his battle against AIDS, until La Tourneaux's death on June 3, 1986.[8][9]


Gorman died of leukemia in 2002, aged 65, although his final film, Kill the Poor, was not released until 2006. He was survived by his wife, Gayle Gorman.


Year Title Role Notes
1970The Boys in the BandEmory
1973Cops and RobbersTom
1975The SilenceStanley GreenbergTV movie
1976Brinks: The Great RobberyDanny ConfortiTV movie
1977Having Babies IIArthur MageeTV movie
1978An Unmarried WomanCharlie
1979All That JazzDavis Newman
1980Night of the JugglerGus Soltic
1981The BunkerJoseph GoebbelsTV movie
1984AngelLt. Andrews
1992Night and the CityPhil Nasseros
1992HoffaSolly Stein
1999Ghost Dog: The Way of the SamuraiSonny Valerio
2000King of the JungleJack
2003Kill the PoorYakov(final film role)


  1. "Cliff Gorman, 65, Portrayer Of Lenny Bruce on Broadway". The New York Times. September 13, 2002.
  2. Canby, Vincent (March 18, 1970). "The Boys in the Band (1970)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
  3. "Cliff Gorman".
  4. Flatley, Guy (June 6, 1971). ". . . But Cliff Is a Cool 'Lenny'; Cliff Gorman Is a Cool 'Lenny'". The New York Times. p. D1.
  5. Canby, Vincent (December 20, 1979). "All That Jazz (1979) The Screen: Roy Scheider Stars in 'All That Jazz':Peter Pan Syndrome". The New York Times.
  6. Simonson, Robert (13 September 2002). "Cliff Gorman, Broadway's Lenny, Is Dead at 65". Playbill, Inc. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  7. "1956–67 Episode Guide "To Tell The Truth", CBS Nighttime series". 1956–67 Episode Guide "To Tell The Truth", CBS Nighttime series. September 13, 1965.
  8. Anderson-Minshal, Diane (16 May 2018). "Why the Gay and Bi Men of 'BOys in the Band' Still Matter". Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  9. Connors, Joanne (2 October 2011). "Meet the characters in 'The Boys in the Band,' the pathbreaking gay drama put on by Convergence-Continuum". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
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