Sunday, March 7, 2010

Foster Brooks

Foster Brooks was an American actor and comedian most famous for his portrayal of a drunken man in nightclub performances and television programs.

Brooks regularly appeared on The Dean Martin Show (Celebrity Roast) television program in the 1970s, as well as many situation comedies, talk shows, and a few films. Although he had only one basic signature character, he exhibited such extraordinary timing and subtlety that he was instantly recognized as one of the great comic performers of the time. His signature routine was the basis of a hit comedy album entitled "Foster Brooks, The Lovable Lush," released in the early 1970s.

As his "Lovable Lush" character, Brooks usually portrayed a conventioneer who had had a few too many drinks — not falling-down drunk, but inebriated enough that he would mix up his words to comedic delight. Brooks drew upon his own battles with alcohol for his act, but during his period of greatest fame, Brooks rarely drank. Of giving up drinking to win a bet in 1964, Brooks said, "Fellow made me a $10 bet I couldn't quit, and I haven't had a drink since. At the time I needed the $10." He would occasionally make cameo appearances in which his character was perfectly sober, such as his appearance in a 1968 episode of Adam-12 playing a straight-laced citizen who tries to get out of a parking ticket by dropping the name of an officer senior to the main characters.

In character, Brooks asked Dean Martin to join his group “Alcoholics Unanimous,” a play on Alcoholics Anonymous. He boasted he and Martin were charter members of the DUI Hall of Fame.

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