Selma Diamond

(1920)
Actress and Director
Date of Birth: 05/08/1920

Most familiar to TV audiences as the diminutive but feisty court bailiff on "Night Court" (1984), Selma Diamond's entrance into acting wasn't through the usual venue of vaudeville, stage work or modeling - she was a writer for TV shows, once having been nominated for an Emmy for "Caesar's Hour" (1954). Although she had that tough New York accent and street demeanor, she was actually born in Ontario, Canada, but raised in Brooklyn. A graduate of New York University, she at first made a living by selling cartoons and fiction to the "New Yorker" magazine. NBC hired her as a writer for one of its radio shows, "The Big Show," and she later made the transition into writing for television. Her film debut was as the voice on the telephone of Spencer Tracy's wife in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963), where the world got a sample of the distinctive Diamond voice: nasal, high-pitched and one that could never be mistaken for anyone else's. She did a lot of TV work and was a regular on another series, "Too Close for Comfort" (1980) before "Night Court" (1984). She died of lung cancer in 1985.

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