Stand-Up Comedian Known For His Performances In The Catskills Dies At 85

Back in 1969, comedian Freddie Roman decided to join the Friars Club, a private club in New York known for roasting celebrities. Still, his desire to become a comedian started much earlier than that. When he was just 15 years old, Roman would emcee shows at a hotel where his family liked to stay in the Catskills.

Roman ended up becoming known as a legendary stand-up comedian. He worked as an emcee in the Catskills for seven years before joining the Friars Club. He considered himself an unknown comedian at the time, partly why he wanted to join.

He once explained to NPR, “I was a relatively – well, no, I was a definitely unknown comedian at that time. It just seemed like that’s where I wanted to be – to be with all the comedy legends of our business, and maybe something would rub off on me from joining.”

In 1991, Roman turned his comedy act and experience in the Catskills into a stage show on Broadway called “Catskills on Broadway.” The show ran for 453 performances at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater before going on tour.

Now comes the sad news that Roman died at the age of 85 years old. His daughter, Julie Levin, told The New York Times that he died from a heart attack.

Roman spent the end of his career at the Friar’s Club. He was elected the Friar’s Club’s dean (or president) in 1994. He tried to encourage young comedians to join what was previously a place where older entertainers and comedians hung out. Roman decided to step down as dean of the Friar’s Club in 2014, and Larry King took his place.

Besides performing on stage, Roman had several opportunities to perform on screen. He acted in the 1987 movie “Sweet Lorraine” and a TV series on Prime Video called “Red Oaks.”

Roman is survived by his wife, daughter, four grandchildren, and two brothers.

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