Sheldon 'Shelley' Berman (born February 3, 1925) is an American comedian, actor, writer, teacher, lecturer, and poet. Berman was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Irene (nee Marks) and Nathan Berman. Berman started as a straight actor, receiving his training at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, honing his acting skills in stock companies in and around Chicago and New York. In the mid-1950s, he became a member of Chicago's Compass Players, which later evolved into The Second City. While performing improvised sketches with Compass, Berman began developing solo pieces, often employing an imaginary telephone to take the place of an onstage partner.
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