Phil Silvers the star of You'll Never Get Rich (later changed to The Phil Silvers Show) saw his performance in Mrs McThing and made a mental note of the lanky fellow that he had watched perform. A few years later in 1955, whilst preparing production on the show called The Eating Contest, Kevin Pines, of the casting department, was sent out to track down Fred. All initial inquiries failed. Kevin then went through all of the New York Times and the CBS research department's archives. He phoned people on Madison Avenue and finally located the would-be actor who was then working as a copyrighter at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. He was that good, as Edwin C. Honergan (aka The Stomach), that Phil Silvers et al wanted him back for a second time, in a parody of the $64,000 Question, in a show called; It's for the Bird's.
After his Bilko show appearance Fred went from strength to strength...... he made appearances on; Studio One, The Kaiser Aluminum Hour, Suspicion, Kraft Television Theatre, The Steve Allen Show and The DuPont Show of the Month.
In 1958 he created Best in Show, a book of pets and their lookalike owners.
In 1960 he published Whats Nude? A volume of racy cartoons for adults. On the telly he played the doctor on The Shari Lewis Show.
Although happy with his artwork the next year saw Fred reappear on Broadway, after an eight year gap, playing the pimp Polyte-Le-Mou in the Peter Brook-directed hit Irma La Douce (the show went on to win the 1961 Tony Award for Best Musical)
In 1961 Fred got a call from the genius that was Nat Hiken, who remembered Fred from his appearances on his Sergeant Bilko show.
This time he offered Fred a starring role as a New York City cop, Patrolman Francis Muldoon,
alongside another Bilko stalwart Joe E Ross in a prime time NBC sitcom.
That show was called Car 54 Where Are You?
Filmed in the Bronx the show followed two patrolman and their escapades around the city.
The on-screen chemistry between the two worked a treat…ably supported by a who’s who of
character actors…..Fred relished the chance to work alongside actors of all ethnic diversities,
including Al Lewis, Hank Garrett and Nipsey Russell. The show became a immediate hit and 35-year-old Fred was now a household name!
When he and Foxy had their third child, Dylan…..Fred was more than content with
how his life was panning out.
Then on July 12th 1963, whilst working on Car 54, Fred received devastating news
that his son had drowned in the swimming pool at the families’ new house in Bedford.
He was only ten months old.
Fred was inconsolable. The strain on his marriage proved too great and the couple
Fred returned to the set of Car 54 and carried on but hid his hidden grief under a
stoic demeanor. He carried on his work as professionally as possible.
He buried himself in work, somehow combining theatre work in the form of Meredith
Willson’s Here’s Love (playing Marvin Shellhammer in over three hundred
performances) and finishing the Car 54 series.
The laugh-out-loud-comedy Car 54 Where Are You? was cancelled after two hugely
In 1964 Hollywood rang Fred and in so doing changed his life forever….........