George Burns (January 20, 1896-- March 9, 1996), born Naftaly Birnbaum, was an American comedian, actor, and writer. He was one of the few entertainers whose career successfully spanned vaudeville, film, radio, and television. His arched eyebrow and cigar smoke punctuation became familiar trademarks for over three quarters of a century. Beginning at the age of 79, Burns' career was resurrected as an amiable, beloved and unusually active old comedian, continuing to work until shortly before his death, in 1996, at the age of 100. Naftaly (later called Nathan) Birnbaum was born on January 20, 1896 in New York City, the ninth of 12 children born to Louis 'Lippe' and Dorah (nee Bluth) Birnbaum, Jewish immigrants who had come to the United States from Romania.
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