Hal Linden, the multi-talented actor, singer, and musician who is this year’s Chairman of the VA’s National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans, opened the Broadway season in a new play entitled "The Gathering" by Arje Shaw.
"Shaw has created a provocative drama that incorporates incredible warmth, humor, and conviction," Linden said in a recent interview. "I am proud to return to Broadway in a vehicle so rich in ideas and emotion."
The Gathering is a fictional production set in the early eighties which tells the story of a Holocaust survivor who attempts to convey the meaning of his life’s experiences to his son, who is a speech writer for the Reagan White House. CBS New’s critic Jeffrey Lyons, generally liked the show, despite what he called "an average script" but declared Linden’s work was an "absolute must see."
Linden is used to such praise. He began his show business career as a clarinet player and later toured as a singer with several bands. As a member of the U. S. Army Band, he became involved with Army revues, which piqued his interest in an acting career.
Following his discharge from the military, Linden enrolled at New York’s American Theatre Wing and for the next six years worked steadily honing his craft. He got his first break in 1968, when he was assigned to understudy Sydney Chaplin in the Broadway play, "Bells Are Ringing"; within five days he had the lead role. Other show credits include "On a Clear Day," "I’m Not Rappaport," "The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N," the revival of "Pajama Game," and "The Rothchilds." The latter performance landed him Broadway’s highest accolade, the Tony – and the attention of television producer Danny Arnold. This resulted in the starring role of Barney Miller, the police captain of New York City’s 12th Precinct. "Barney Miller" became a hit TV show, and earned Linden a pair of Emmys.
Linden, who is an avid golfer, combined his favorite sport with his favorite charity when the March of Dimes inaugurated the Hal Linden Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament at Lake Tahoe in 1988. He has served as national chairman of the March of Dimes for several years and has helped raise some $75 million as host of the annual telethon.
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