Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Maurice Gosfield

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Occupation  Comedic actor
Years active  1934-1964

Name  Maurice Gosfield
Role  Actor

Full Name  Maurice Lionel Gosfield
Born  January 28, 1913 (1913-01-28) New York City, New York, U.S.
Died  October 19, 1964, New York City, New York, United States
Resting place  Long Island National Cemetery
Known for  The Phil Silvers Show, Top Cat
Nominations  Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Movies and TV shows  The Phil Silvers Show, Top Cat, Top Cat and the Beverly H, Teenage Millionaire, Keep in Step
Similar People  Herbie Faye, Nat Hiken, Allan Melvin, Aaron Ruben, Ray Patterson

Allan melvin maurice gosfield in camel cigarette ad 1956

Maurice Gosfield (January 28, 1913 – October 19, 1964) was an American comic actor, most famous for his portrayal of Private Duane Doberman on the 1950s sitcom The Phil Silvers Show and voicing Benny the Ball in Top Cat.


Maurice Gosfield MAURICE GOSFIELD From Private Doberman to Benny The Ball

Maurice gosfield in the phil silvers show bilko s tv pilot 1958

Early life

Maurice Lionel Gosfield was born in New York in 1913, but was raised in Philadelphia and later in Evanston, Illinois. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army as a Technician 4th Grade (T/4) in the 8th Armored Division.

Acting career

He began acting with the Ralph Bellamy and Melvyn Douglas Players in Evanston, and joined the summer stock theatre circuit in 1930. In 1937, he made his Broadway debut as Manero in the play Siege. Other theatre credits from the 1930s include The Petrified Forest, Three Men on a Horse and Room Service. He also made several appearances on radio programs.

The Phil Silvers Show

From 1955 to 1959, Gosfield played Private Duane Doberman in The Phil Silvers Show (titled You'll Never Get Rich in its first season). Doberman was written as the most woebegone soldier. The actor originally hired for the part was Maurice Brenner, but Brenner was recast as Private Irving Fleischman. The show's creator Nat Hiken's biography details the casting for the role and the effect that Gosfield had on him, the producer and Phil Silvers when he appeared in front of them:

The dumpy, spectacularly ugly Maurice Gosfield ambled into an open casting call one day, brandishing an enormous list of credits. A handful of his bit parts on stage are easy enough to confirm; more difficult to pin down are his claims of two-thousand radio credits and one hundred TV appearances. Nonetheless, they were impressed with him. "None of the man's background, though, really mattered to Hiken and Silvers once they got a good look at him. Nat had already picked someone to play the most woebegone member of Bilko's platoon, but immediately he knew that here [Maurice Gosfield] was the man born for the part".

In 1959, Gosfield was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for the show. That same year, he again played Private Doberman in the television show Keep in Step and made his final appearance as the character, the following year, when he guest starred on The Jack Benny Program. He next appeared in the made-for-television movie The Teenage Millionaire (1961).

Final years

Gosfield also provided the voice for Benny the Ball on the cartoon series Top Cat which was partially based on the Sergeant Bilko series. His last role was in the 1963 film The Thrill of It All, playing a truck driver. In 1964 he unsuccessfully tested for the role of Uncle Fester in the TV series The Addams Family.

Personal life

Gosfield never married. He was 5'2" and weighed over 200 pounds and had once told TV writer Bert Resnik that he was "too ugly to get married". In 1957, he received the "TV's Bachelor of the Year" Award by the Bachelor and Bachelorettes Society of America.


Gosfield died at the Will Rogers Memorial Hospital in Saranac Lake, New York on October 19, 1964. He had been in hospital since the previous summer suffering from a series of ailments including diabetes and heart trouble and other complications.


DC Comics published eleven issues of a Private Doberman comic from 1957 to 1960.

Phil Silvers, in his 1973 autobiography, said of Gosfield that he had a pomposity and condescension off-screen and "thought of himself as Cary Grant playing a short, plump man," adding, "He began to have delusions. He did not realize that the situations in which he worked, plus the sharp lines provided by Nat and the other writers, made him funny." For his part, Gosfield crowed, "Without me, the Bilko show would be nothing." Marvin Kaplan, in an interview with Earl Kress on the DVD feature of Top Cat, said of his co-star: "Maurice Gosfield. He was one of a kind. He was a marvelous human being. I loved Maurice."


  • Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town - New York Tour Ticket Seller (1950) (uncredited)
  • The New Recruits - TV Movie - Pvt. Mulrooney (1955)
  • Summer in New York - TV Movie (1960)
  • Teenage Millionaire - Ernie (1961)
  • The Thrill of It All - Truck Driver (1963)
  • Television

  • The Clock - episode - Episode #1.25 (1949)
  • We the People - episode - Episode dated 15 February 1952 - Himself (1952)
  • The Phil Silvers Show - 138 episodes - Pvt. Duane Doberman (1955-1959)
  • The Ed Sullivan Show - episodes - Episode #9.47 & Episode #12.16 - Pvt. Duane Doberman / Himself (1956-1958)
  • The Steve Allen Plymouth Show - episode - Episode #3.34 - Himself - Guest (1958)
  • The Phil Silvers Pontiac Special: Keep in Step - TV Special - Pvt. Duane Doberman (1959)
  • The Jack Benny Program - episode - Maurice Gosfield/Amateur Show - Himself / Pvt. Duane Doberman (1960)
  • One Happy Family - episode - Big Night - Fred (1961)
  • The Detectives - episode - Secret Assignment - Angie (1961)
  • The Red Skelton Hour - episode - San Fernando and the Kaaka Maami Island - Millionaire (1961)
  • The Jim Backus Show - episode - Old Army Game - Private Dilly Dillingham (1961)
  • Top Cat - 30 episodes - Benny the Ball (1961-1962)
  • References

    Maurice Gosfield Wikipedia