Brother of actor/director Fred Carney.
Father of actor Brian Carney.
He was the voice of "Red Lantern: The Fish Priminister" on the children's radio show "The Land of the Lost", which also starred Mae Questel and Naomi Lewis. "The Land of the Lost" was heard on the ABC Radio Network during the mid 1940s. Carney also performed on another television puppet special with "The Bil & Cora Baird Puppets" - "Art Carney Meets the Sorcerer's Apprentice" on The ABC TV Network. The show aired in the early 1960s.
He was a voice-over regular on the popular 1930s radio series "Gangbusters", which featured weekly episodes based on actual crime incidents. Each program ended with various descriptions of wanted criminals, many of whom were later arrested owing to avid listener participation.
The voice of Red Lantern on radio's "The Land of the Lost" was originally done by Junius Matthews, who did a great number of movies around that time. This show overlapped with his schedule, so it was taken over by Art Carney.
World War II veteran stationed in France as an infantryman. Wounded in leg by shrapnel and was hospitalized for nine months. He walked with a limp for the rest of his life.
Originated the role of Felix Unger (opposite Walter Matthau as Oscar Madison) in Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple" on Broadway in 1965.
Won a talent contest in elementary school and another at A.B. Davis High School, in Mount Vernon, from which he graduated in 1936. Had only a high school education, no formal training and never took an acting class.
A wound in the leg while serving as a World War II infantryman left one leg slightly shorter and gave Carney a noticeable limp for the rest of his life.
Won the Academy Award for playing the 72-year-old Harry Coombes in the sentimental film Harry and Tonto (1974). He was only 55 at the time but used makeup, grew a mustache, whitened his hair and stopped masking his limp.
Suffered a nervous breakdown over the end of his 25-year marriage to wife Jean owing to his addictions to alcohol, amphetamines and barbiturates. After recovering fully in the 1970s, he won not only an Academy Award but also his wife: They remarried.
He talked his way into a job with the popular Horace Heidt Orchestra and went on the road for more than three years, doing impressions, novelty songs, and some announcing for Heidt's radio show "Pot o' Gold". In 1941, when the orchestra was asked to make a movie, Carney was handed a small role. He also specialized in dialects.
Jackie Gleason once stated that Carney was 90% responsible for the success of The Honeymooners (1955).
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 93-94. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6627 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, on February 8, 1960.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1969 Tony Award as Best Actor (Dramatic) for Brian Friel's "Lovers".
In a case of art (no pun intended) imitating life, the last words he ever spoke on-screen were his characters dying words: "I'm outta here..." in the action-comedy-fantasy film Last Action Hero (1993).
Before playing Ed Norton on The Honeymooners (1955), Carney played a policeman who gets hit by a barrel of flour in the first Honeymooners sketch on The Jackie Gleason Show (1952).
Beat out Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Albert Finney and Al Pacino to win his first and only Best Actor Oscar for Harry and Tonto (1974).
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 63-65. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
In playing the 72-year-old Harry Coombes in Harry and Tonto (1974), the 55-year-old Carney convinced director Paul Mazursky by growing his own mustache, whitening his hair, wearing his own hearing aid and not trying to mask the limp he received from a World War II injury.
It was while appearing in "The Odd Couple" on Broadway that Carney suffered a nervous breakdown brought on by the failure of his twenty-five-year first marriage. He was forced to leave the play and enter a sanitarium for nearly six months.
First appeared as Ed Norton, the foil for star Jackie Gleason's character Ralph Kramden, when The Honeymooners (1955) was a regular skit between 1951 and 1952 on the DuMont Network's television program Cavalcade of Stars (1949).
His radio role as Philly on "The Joe and Ethel Turp Show" foreshadowed his Honeymooners characterization of Ed Norton.
Through his brother Jack, a musical booking agent, Carney landed his first show-business job in 1936, as a mimic and novelty singer for Horace Heidt's band. Due to this association with Heidt, he made his unbilled film debut with Pot o' Gold (1941) as a band member and radio announcer.
Appears as Ed Norton, with Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden, on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp in the Early TV Memories issue honoring The Honeymooners (1955). The stamp was issued 11 August 2009.
Carney joined The Lambs, the historic theater club, in 1960. Also a member there was fellow Honeymooner Joyce Randolph, who is still a member; Joyce's husband was the Lambs' president for 11 years.
Prior to his death, he had been retired for more than a decade, living a quiet life at his home in Westbrook, Connecticut. [November 2003]
Following his death, he was interred at Riverside Cemetery at Old Saybrook, Conneticut.
Has three children with Jean Myers: Eileen Carney (born 1942), Brian Carney (born 1946) and Paul Carney (born 1952).
His maternal grandparents were Irish immigrants, and his father was also of Irish descent.
Was briefly linked to Bebe Kelly (an actress) in the mid 70's.
The Carney Awards, named after Art Carney, have been awarded annually since 2015 for "Outstanding Achievement in Character Acting". It is a lifetime achievement award, not given for specific performances.
Has never appeared in a film nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.