As seen on Johnny Carson Merv Griffin and the Ed Sullivan show.
Hank Garrett was born Henry Greenberg in Monti-cello, New York He grew up in Harlem, Manhattan's mostly black and Spanish section, and learned to adapt quickly to unfamiliar situations. As a kid he spoke three languages: English, Yiddish and Spanish. His first dream was to become a body builder, and in 1949 he won the New York Power Lifting Champ-ionship title. He wasn't even 20 yet.
In 1950, with the dawn of the television age, Hank became a pro wrestler, grappling under the improbable moniker "The Minnesota Farm Boy" very odd, considering he'd never been out of New York before. That changed in a hurry, though, as Garrett worked the Chicago and Los Angeles circuits at a time when wrestling was enormously popular, both on television and before live crowds.
After five years of being body-slammed to the canvas, Garrett decided to give comedy a try. So he put away his trunks and packed his bags for the Catskills, where he found work initially as social director for the then-famous Brown's Hotel. Buddy Hackett did regular stand-up there. Soon Hank was given his chance. He told stories of his childhood, using various dialects and characters.
The audiences loved him and before long he was an opening act for singers like Tony Bennett, Jerry Vale and Della Reese. One night TV producer Nat Hiken saw Hank's act and promptly invited him to audition for the part on Car 54. The rest, as they say, is history. To this day, Garrett performs stand-up comedy, although his audiences are now private organizations and corporate crowds.
Hank has also appeared in numerous major motion pictures, not just TV shows. Aside from Three Days of the Condor, his credits include Death Wish, Johnny Dangerously, Serpico, The Producers, Exorcist II: The Heretic, The Amityville Horror and Firepower. In Firepower, one scene called for him to have his head slammed into the hood of a car by none other than O.J. Simpson.
"I told him to just hold my head and I would do the slam, but instead he slammed my head down full force unintentionally, of course and it knocked me out cold," Garrett recalled. "When I came to, I look up and who do I see cradling me in her arms but the star of the movie, Sophia Loren. She's calling out, 'Someone, quick, get an ambulance!' and I start shouting, too 'But take your time!"
Hank Garrett lives in Encino, California, not far from Los Angeles, with his cat, Tigger, and Pug dog, Bogie. He has been married and divorced twice and has a son, Reid, 23, who is a manager at a Los Angeles sports club. Hank is a martial arts enthusiast and holds a black belt in karate. He keeps busy doing stand-up comedy, voice-over work, autograph shows and occasional movie and television work. He is also active on behalf of the Disabled Veterans of America, a not-for-profit organization.