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The Entertainer

rice lemmon marvin jack

(NBC, 3/10/1976, 120 mins). A semi-musical adaptation of John Osborne’s stage and screen drama (both of which starred Laurence Olivier) about a second-rate vaudevillian, still struggling at middle age for success and stardom. The setting is changed from the original British to an American seaside resort and has Emmy Award-nominated performances by Jack Lemmon, Ray Bolger and Sada Thompson, with Elliott Baker’s adaptation and James Crabe’s cinematography also cited. For Lemmon, who began acting on television in its earliest days, this marked his first dramatic TV work in nearly 17 years. It also marked Bolger’s television movie debut and reunited him with Allyn Ann McLerie, his co-star both on stage and screen in “Where’s Charley?”

Production Companies RSO Television, Persky-Bright Productions. Director Donald Wrye. Producers Beryl Vertue, Marvin Hamlisch. Teleplay Elliott Baker. Based on the Play by John Osborne. Photography James Crabe. Music Marvin Hamlisch. Song “The Only Way to Go” by Marvin Hamlisch, Tim Rice. Song Performed by Jack Lemmon. Editors Ralph E. Winters, William Reynolds. Art Director Robert MacKichan. Associate Producer Robert T Skodis. Musical Sequences Choreographer Ron Field.

Cast Jack Lemmon (Archie Rice), Ray Bolger (Billy Rice), Sada Thompson (Phoebe Rice), Tyne Daly (Jean), Michael Cristofer (Frank), Annette O’Toole (Bambi), Mitchell Ryan (Mr. Pasko), Allyn Ann McLerie (Mrs. Pasko), Dick O’Neill (Charlie), Leanna Johnson Heath (Charleen), Rita O’Connor (Lilly), Alan DeWitt (Bakery clerk).

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