Bernard Sahlins

TV Program Creator

– 2013


Who was Bernard Sahlins?

Bernard "Bernie" Sahlins was an American writer, director and comedian best known as a founder of The Second City improvisational comedy troupe with Paul Sills and Howard Alk in 1959. Sahlins also opened the Second City Theatre in Toronto in 1973.

Born in Chicago, Sahlins graduated from University of Chicago in 1943. His brother is anthropologist Marshall Sahlins.

When Sahlins received an honorary doctorate from Columbia College Chicago in 2006, theatre department professor Sheldon Patinkin wrote:

In 1953, he became a producer of Playwrights Theatre Club, the first professional theater company in Chicago in many years. It featured such budding actors and directors as Ed Asner, Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Paul Sills, Byrne and Joyce Piven, and me. In 1956, he took over the empty downtown Studebaker Theatre and did a year of plays which included the Chicago premiere of Waiting for Godot and then in 1959, with Paul Sills and Howard Alk, he opened The Second City where Bernie remained as producer and, eventually, one of the directors until the 1990s. Among the many talents he hired are John and James Belushi, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis and Bill Murray. Bernie was also one of the developers and producers of the acclaimed TV show SCTV.

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  • United States of America
  • University of Chicago
Jun 16, 2013

on July 23, 2013


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