Freddie Roman, a Borscht Belt staple whose comedy was long a part of the Friars Club roasts and was a fixture in big nightclubs, has died at 85. He had a heart attack this morning in Boynton Beach, Florida, his daughter said.
Roman had a long career in comedy, a reliable old-time joke-teller who worked countless rooms in Las Vegas and other big cities.
He was also part of frequent Comedy Central roasts, taking a few wacks at the likes of Jerry Stiller, Hugh Hefner, Drew Carey, Rob Reiner and Chevy Chase, among others.
Roman grew up in New York City, and was given a chance to emcee at the Crystal Spring Hotel in the Catskills at age 15, a venue owned by his uncle and grandfather.
He worked the area for a time, then left show business to work for his father’s shoe store. That didn’t last long, and Roman returned to comedy.
Roman appeared in the films Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort (2012), The Last Laugh (2006), Bittersweet Place (2005), Christ in the City (2005), Finding North (1998) and Sweet Lorraine (1987).
His TV appearances included guest shots on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Tonight Show, and Red Oaks on Amazon, among others.
He was also a part of the successful Broadway show Catskills on Broadway in 2003.
He is survived by his wife, Ethel, and daughter, Judi Levin.