Eddie "Rochester" Anderson
Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1905-09-18 · Deathday: 1977-02-28 (71 years old) · Place of Birth: Oakland, California, USA
56 Movies · 6 TV shows
Also Known As: Eddie Anderson · Edmund Lincoln Anderson · Rochester
Gifts & Merchandise on Amazon
Eddie "Rochester" Anderson (1905–1977) was an American comic actor who became famous playing Rochester, the valet to Jack Benny's eponymous title character on the long-running radio and television series The Jack Benny Program.
Marriages and children. On May 2, 1939, Anderson married Mamie (Wiggins) Nelson. She was the daughter of Alonzo and Annie Wiggins of Eastman, GA. Mamie died on August 5, 1954, at the age of 43, following a two-year battle with cancer. At the time of her death she and Anderson had been married for 15 years and her son Billy (Anderson's stepson) was playing professional football for the Chicago Bears. Billy was born George Billy Nelson to Mamie Wiggins and her previous husband on March 8, 1929, in Los Angeles. When Mamie married Eddie Anderson, Billy was adopted and took the surname Anderson.Following Mamie's death, Anderson married Evangela "Eva" Simon on February 8, 1956, at Kingman, Arizona. The couple had three children: daughters Stephanie and Evangela Jr. ("Eva"), and son Edmund Jr. Simon and Anderson divorced in 1973 with Anderson retaining custody of his minor son and daughter. Home. Like many of the African-Americans in the entertainment industry, Anderson made his home in the West Adams district of Los Angeles. In previous times, the district had been home to doctors, lawyers, and railroad barons. In the Depression era, the area had fallen into hard times, with many residents needing to either sell their homes or rent out rooms in them. By the 1940s, the African-American entertainment community began purchasing homes in the district, nicknaming it "Sugar Hill". Some property owners reacted to their new neighbors by adding restrictive covenants to their deeds. The covenants either prohibited African-Americans from purchasing a property or inhabiting it once purchased. The practice was declared illegal by the US Supreme Court in 1948.Since Anderson wanted to build a home designed by Paul Williams, he was limited in his choice of a site for it by these restrictive covenants. As a result, his large and luxurious home with a swimming pool where the neighborhood children were always welcome, stands in an area of smaller, bungalow-style homes. The street was renamed because 'Rochester' lived on it. Hobbies. Anderson built model airplanes and racing cars, but also designed a life-size sports car for himself in 1951. Anderson combined a Cadillac engine under the hood and a sleek, low-slung exterior to create a car he both drove and exhibited at various sports car shows throughout the country.Anderson, who was the skipper of his own cabin cruiser, was missing and feared lost at sea in February 1946. When the boat developed engine trouble, Anderson and his two friends did everything sailors are expected to do to signal an SOS. They used mirrors, built fires, used lanterns and flew the ship's flag upside-down to indicate they were in distress. They spent the night adrift until a fishing boat finally spotted them and towed them into Los Angeles harbor. Anderson did not realize he had caused great concern until he heard a news story on the radio that described the search for him as still continuing. On the following Sunday, Anderson was back on the "Lucky Strike Program," and joked with Jack Benny about the incident. ("That's the first time I ever had a 'lost weekend' on nothing but water!") = Horse racing. = Anderson was the owner of racehorses. The best known of them was Burnt Cork, a Thoroughbred that ran in the 1943 Kentucky Derby, making him the first African-American owner of a horse entered into the Derby. Having been given the following day off by Benny, Anderson and his wife, Mamie, traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to see their horse run in the Derby. Since segregation in public accommodations was practiced there, the Andersons were invited to be guests at the home of Mae Street Kidd, a noted female African-American Kentucky politician.Both before and after the race, Anderson was accused of entering his horse in the race strictly for publicity purposes for himself, especially after Burnt Cork finished last. Those making the statements believed this tarnished the name and history of the race. Jack Cuddy, a United Press International sports columnist, pointed out in his column that around the same time Burnt Cork ran last for Anderson, King George VI's horse, Tipstaff, finished last at Ascot without any of the comments that surrounded Anderson.When Burnt Cork won an important race, Anderson came to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for work dressed as a Kentucky colonel; he also insisted on being called "Colonel Rochester".After the Benny television show had left the air, Anderson turned back to his love of horses and racing, working as a trainer at the Hollywood Park Racetrack until shortly before his death. He acquired much of his knowledge when one of his racing horses, Up and Over, was injured in a fall; it was suggested that the horse be euthanized due to the extent of those injuries. Anderson refused this and said he would take care of his injured animal. He spent extensive periods of time at the Paramount Pictures studio library, reading everything in their collection on equine anatomy. This led Anderson to a veterinary surgeon who was interested in helping Up and Over; together the two men got the thoroughbred back on his feet again.
Anderson was born in Oakland, California. His father, "Big Ed" Anderson, was a minstrel performer, while his mother, Ella Mae, had been a tightrope walker until her career was ended by a fall. He described himself as being a descendant of slaves who were able to leave the South during the Civil War through the Underground Railroad. At the age of ten, Anderson and his family moved from Oakland to San Francisco. He left school when he was 14 to work as an errand boy to help his family.Stage-struck at an early age, he spent much of his free time waiting at stage doors and cutting up on street corners with his friend and brother, Cornelius. Anderson briefly tried being a jockey, but had to give it up when he became too heavy. Anderson started in show business as part of an all African-American revue at age 14; he had previously won an amateur contest at a vaudeville theater in San Francisco. Anderson joined the cast of Struttin' Along in 1923 and was part of Steppin' High both as a dancer and as one of the "Three Black Aces" with his brother, Cornelius, in 1924. He later worked in vaudeville with Cornelius. Anderson began adding comedy to his song and dance act in 1926. During one of his vaudeville tours to the East Coast, Anderson first met Jack Benny; the men only exchanged greetings and shook hands.Anderson's vocal cords were ruptured when he was a youngster selling newspapers in San Francisco. The newsboys believed those who were able to shout the loudest sold the most papers. The permanent damage done to his vocal cords left him with the gravel voice familiar to both radio listeners and television viewers over a course of more than twenty years. Anderson was also a dancer and got his show business start in this way, but it was his uniquely recognizable voice that brought him to stardom.
Movies & TV shows
TV in Black: The First Fifty Years
Discover how television has reflected the African American experience in this retrospective of the medium's first half-century. Actors, writers and historians discuss the image of black America on tel...
1 TV show
The New Scooby-Doo Movies
Real-life celebrities or well known fictional characters joined the Mystery, Inc in each episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, which differed from its predecessor in the addition of a rotating special...
1 TV show
Harlem Globetrotters is a Saturday morning cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera and CBS Productions, featuring animated versions of players from the famous basketball team, Harlem Globetrotters. Broadca...
1 TV show
It Takes a Thief
Convicted cat burglar Alexander Mundy gets an offer he can't refuse from the United States government: If he puts his formidable thieving skills to work for them, he'll be released from prison. Alexan...
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
A group of strangers come across a man dying after a car crash who proceeds to tell them about the $350,000 he buried in California. What follows is the madcap adventures of those strangers as each at...
The Mouse That Jack Built
In this spoof of "The Jack Benny Program", a mouse with Jack Benny's personality and poor violin playing ability lives, along with a mouse version of Benny's valet, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, in a ho...
1 TV show
Hallmark Hall of Fame
Hallmark Hall of Fame is an anthology program on American television, sponsored by Hallmark Cards, a Kansas City based greeting card company. The longest-running primetime series in the history of tel...
1 Movie · 2 TV shows
What's My Line?
Panelists must ask only "yes" or "no" questions to determine guests' occupations, and in the case of famous guests, they must be blindfolded.
The Jack Benny Program
There is a television program starring Jack Benny.
You Can Change The World
Comedian Jack Benny has his butler, Rochester, call several of his celebrity friends over to the house. Benny introduces them to a Catholic priest, who speaks to them about doing a film for a group ca...
I Love a Bandleader
A painter suffering from amnesia convinces himself that he's a famous bandleader and finds romance with a pretty singer. Comedy with music.
Monty Brewster is a pennyless, former U.S. Army soldier back from World War II Europe who learns that he has inherited $8 million from a distant relative. But there's a catch: he must spend $1 million...
The Sailor Takes a Wife
While waiting in New York City to ship out to Europe, a sailor stops by a serviceman's canteen and meets a USO hostess. They immediately fall for each other and get married that night. However, when t...
Show-Business at War
A multi-studio effort to show the newsreel audience the progress of the Hollywood war effort.
Cabin in the Sky
When compulsive gambler Little Joe Jackson dies in a drunken fight, he awakens in purgatory, where he learns that he will be sent back to Earth for six months to prove that he deserves to be in heaven...
The Meanest Man in the World
Compassionate small-town lawyer Richard Clarke moves to New York City to seek his fortune, but is unsuccessful until he takes a friend's advice and tries to convince the world he's a ruthless heel. Su...
What's Buzzin', Cousin?
Musicians help a woman (Ann Miller) and her friends make some money with a ghost-town hotel.
Star Spangled Rhythm
Pop, a security guard at Paramount has told his son that he's the head of the studio. When his son arrives in Hollywood on shore leave with his buddies, Pop enlists the aid of the studio's dizzy switc...
Tales of Manhattan
Ten screenwriters collaborated on this series of tales concerning the effect a tailcoat cursed by its tailor has on those who wear it. The video release features a W.C. Fields segment not included in ...
Birth of the Blues
Jeff grows up near Basin Street in New Orleans, playing his clarinet with the dock workers. He puts together a band, the Basin Street Hot-Shots, which includes a cornet player, Memphis. They struggle ...
Kiss the Boys Goodbye
New York chorus girl Cindy Lou Bethany becomes frustrated when she prepares for an audition for a Broadway musical, but the auditions close and her roommate, Gwen Abbott, is hired to be secretary to T...
Topper is once again tormented by a fun-loving spirit. This time, it's Gail Richards, who was accidentally murdered while vacationing at the home of her wealthy friend, Ann Carrington (Landis), the in...
Love Thy Neighbor
Capitalizing on the famous radio 'feud' between comedians Jack Benny and Fred Allen. The two stars play versions of themselves, constantly at each other's throats due to real and imagined slights.
Buck Benny Rides Again
Radio star Jack Benny, intending to stay in New York for the summer, is forced by the needling of rival Fred Allen to prove his boasts about roughing it on his (fictitious) Nevada ranch. Meanwhile, si...
Man About Town
Producer Bob Temple, who's brought an American show to London, loves his star Diana, but she won't take him seriously as a lover. To show her, he picks up stranger Lady Arlington, whose financier husb...
Gone with the Wind
The spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner is forced to use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of poverty, following Maj. Gen. William Sherman's destructive "March to the Sea,”...
You Can't Get Away with Murder
Frank Wilson was a criminal who taught Johnnie crime. When Wilson kills a pawnbroker with a gun stolen from Johnnie's sister Madge's fiancée Fred Burke, he goes to Sing Sing's death house. Wilson uses...
You Can't Cheat an Honest Man
Fields plays "Larsen E. Whipsnade", the owner of a shady carnival that is constantly on the run from the law. Whipsnade is struggling to keep a step ahead of foreclosure, and clearly not paying his pe...
Movie star Brooks Mason tries to avoid his fans and spend some weeks on vacation. When Hawaiian plantage-owner George Smith is mistaken by Mason's fans for Mason and brought to Mason's home. They deci...
You Can't Take It with You
Alice, the only relatively normal member of the eccentric Sycamore family, falls in love with Tony Kirby, but his wealthy banker father and snobbish mother strongly disapprove of the match. When the K...
In 1850s Louisiana, the willfulness of a tempestuous Southern belle threatens to destroy all who care for her.
A sports store clerk poses as a famous jockey as an advertising stunt, but gets more than he bargained for.
A magazine reporter exposes a crooked District Attorney, resulting in his trial. Complications ensue, however, when the man is acquitted.
Romeo and Juliet story set amidst horseracing in Kentucky. The family feud of lovers Jack and Sally goes back to the Civil War and is kept alive by her Uncle Peter.
While New York Sleeps
Newspaperman (Whalen) looks into the deaths of bond-carriers while romancing a show girl (Rogers).
Gold Diggers in Paris
When the representative of the Paris International Dance Exposition arrives in New York to invite the Academy Ballet of America to compete for monetary prizes, the taxi driver mistakenly brings him to...
Thanks for the Memory
Steve Merrick is an out of work writer who stays home and plays house husband while his wife goes to work for her former fiancé and Merrick's publisher who is still carrying a torch for her.
Melody For Two
A singing bandleader signs on with an all-girls band.
Over the Goal
The Carlton State star quarterback is wrongly thrown in jail, almost guaranteeing a major loss as well as costing the college a donation which would save the school from closing.
When Love Is Young
In this drama, a girl from a small town in Pennsylvania dreams of being a star while she goes to school. The trouble is, no one notices her. Later a mentor turns her into a successful Broadway enterta...
Wake Up and Live
Satire on radio, built around the supposed feud between bandleader Ben Bernie and journalist Walter Winchell.
A reporter risks lynching to prove that share croppers are being cheated.
Love Is News
When a crafty reporter uses false pretenses to get a story out of heiress Tony Gateson, she turns the tables on him, telling the press that they are engaged. Suddenly he's front page news, every sales...
Bill Cracks Down
William Reardon, a steel magnate, dies and leaves a strange will. When his spineless and dandified heir and son returns home from living in Paris, he finds "Tons' Walker, a strong and burly steel work...
The operators of a bankrupt carnival sideshow hope to restore their fallen fortunes by staging a fake 'public wedding' in the mouth of their unprofitable giant whale. But the intended 'bridegroom' abs...
One Mile From Heaven
A female journalist travels to a new neighborhood after getting a (false) lead and is surprised by what she finds.
Rainbow on the River
A young boy is forced to leave his family in the South and move in with relatives he doesn't know in New York.
Two in a Crowd
When two halves of a thousand-dollar bill are discovered in the snow, the penniless pair that individually grabs each half must come to terms. Actress Julia Wayne needs the whole $1,000, and so does s...
Despite her mother's objections, the naive young daughter of a show boat captain is thrust into the limelight as the company's new leading lady.
Three Men on a Horse
A meek salesman with an uncanny ability to pick horses is virtually kidnapped by a trio of gamblers.
The Green Pastures
God, heaven, and several Old Testament stories, including the Creation and Noah's Ark, are described supposedly using the perspective of rural, black Americans.
An ocean liner is found at sea with everyone on board dead. An investigation is begun to find out what happened.
I Love That Man
Innocent Nancy Carroll falls in love with con man Edmund Lowe and the pair swindle their way across the country until they decide to settle down in a small town and give up their life of crime. He goe...
From Hell to Heaven
The various residents and occupants of a resort hotel await the outcome of a horse race at a nearby track, as it will affect each of their lives in different ways.
Hat Check Girl
Gerry Marsh is a hat-check girl in a nightclub surrounded by bootleggers, blackmailers and others before she falls in love with millionaire playboy Buster Collins. Gerry is supported by her girlfriend...
What Price Hollywood?
Sassy and ambitious waitress Mary Evans amuses and befriends amiable seldom-sober Hollywood film director Max Carey when he stumbles into her restaurant. Max invites Mary to his film premiere and, aft...