Siblings: Phil (b. 1901), Francis (b. 1904), Jack (b. 1905), Rosalind (b. 1913) (all deceased)
Changed his name to Berle from Berlinger in 1920.
Appeared for the first time on television in an experimental TV broadcast in 1929, and sometimes is credited with being the first person to appear on television, possibly because a film of the broadcast has survived. On April 7, 1927, an image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover was transmitted by AT&T in the first successful long distance demonstration of TV. Later that day, AT&T broadcast other material, including vaudeville comedian A. Dolan. WRNY (Coytesville, NJ) became the first standard radio station to transmit a television image, the face of Mrs. John Geloso, on Aug. 13, 1928 in a process resembling early Web "broadcasts," with a delay of a few seconds between image and voice, while on Aug. 22, 1928, WGY simultaneously broadcast Alfred E. Smith accepting the Democratic presidential nomination on radio and TV. "The Queen's Messenger" was the first play broadcast by television, on Sept. 11, 1928 by W2XAD, an event that made the front page of the NY Times. Thus, Berle cannot be considered the first "television performer" in history.
Described a brief affair with Aimee Semple McPherson in 1930 in his 1975 autobiography, "Milton Berle: An Autobiography".
He became a vegetarian in the early 1940s.
Berle co-wrote, with Ben Oakland, the title song for the 1940 film Li'l Abner (1940).
He adopted a daughter, Victoria, in 1946.
In 1947, Berle founded the Friars Club of Beverly Hills at the old Savoy Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. Other founding members included Jimmy Durante, George Jessel, Robert Taylor, and Bing Crosby. The club, which moved to Beverly Hills in 1961, is a private show business club famous for its celebrity members and roasts, where a member is mocked by their club friends in good fun.
His mother, Sarah Berlinger (later called Sandra Berle), was often shown on camera as she sat in the audience for "The Milton Berle Show" (1948).
Appears on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp, issued 11 August 2009, in the Early TV Memories issue honoring "Texaco Star Theater" (titled "The Milton Berle Show" (1948), 1954-1956).
In May 1949, he hosted the world's first charity telethon, benefiting the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund. The program lasted 24 hours.
Mother: Sarah (died 31. May 1954)
In 1962, NBC tried to develop a TV series around incidents in his life, but the series never got beyond the planning stage.
In 1984 he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, and in 1991 became the first entertainer inducted into the International Comedy Hall of Fame.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald S. Smith, pg. 46-48. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Suffered a mild stroke at his home in California. [5 December 1999]
Was diagnosed with a slow-growing cancerous tumor in his colon. Doctors said he did not need surgery and the cancer would take 10 to 12 years to affect him. This turned out to be incorrect, as Berle died less than a year later. [April 2001]
He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6771 Hollywood Boulevard and for Television at 6263 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.