The life and legacy of Sid Caesar

The Coast Guard Brooklyn 
Barracks Band during World War II with
 Sid Caesar
center stage. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Coast Guard Brooklyn 
Barracks Band during World War II with
 Sid Caesar
center stage. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Actor. Musician. Comedian. Coast Guardsman. Today we honor the life and legacy of Sid Caesar.

Born in Yonkers, N.Y., Caesar studied saxophone at the Julliard School of Music. He played in a number of prominent Big Bands, including those led by Charlie Spivak and Claude Thornhill.

Caesar joined the Coast Guard in 1939 after saxophone at Julliard and was assigned to play in military revues and shows, such as Tars and Spars. Early on, he showed a natural penchant for comedy by entertaining other band members with his improvised routines. His comedic character prompted the show’s producer Max Liebman to move him from the orchestra and cast him as a stand-up comedian to entertain troops.

This jump-started his famed career and after he was released from service by the Coast Guard in 1945 he went on to perform his “war routine” in both the stage and movie versions of the revue. He continued under Liebman’s guidance after the war in theatrical performances in the Catskills and Florida, but he never forgot the service that launched his career.

“Sid Caesar went on to great fame after his service as a Coast Guardsman, but he remained a dedicated shipmate over the years,” said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp. “Whether entertaining Coast Guardsmen or generously recording Coast Guard recruiting public service announcements, he remained dedicated to the service and he will be truly missed.”

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