Stanley Handelman, 77, actor/writer

Was a key writer for Rodney Dangerfield

Comedian Stanley Myron Handelman died of a heart attack Aug. 5 in Panorama City, Calif. He was 77.

Known for his soft-spoken delivery, he often sported a trademark flat cap and oversized glasses.

Born in Brooklyn, he worked as an entertainment director in the Catskills before starting his comedy career in New York clubs such as the Hungry i and the Bitter End in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

He made one of his first TV appearances on the Merv Griffin Show and then became a regular on “Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers” and “The Dean Martin Show” in 1968.

Handelman frequently opened for Frank Sinatra’s live performances.

Following his stint on “The Dean Martin Show,” he made frequent appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Tonight Show,” “The Flip Wilson Show” and “The Merv Griffin Show.”

After headlining at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas in 1970, Handelman forged a close friendship with Rodney Dangerfield, and wrote material for him for many years.

In 1971, he released the comedy album “Spiro T. Agnew Is a Riot.”

From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, he taught comedy in Los Angeles. He coached and produced shows featuring his students, who appeared under the billing “The Flying Handelmans.”

He is survived by four sons, a daughter, a granddaughter and a sister.

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