EDGAR's family came to the United States in the early 1900's, probably due to the persecution of Jews in Romania.
New York's Lower East Side is where he spent his childhood. Forgoing plans to become a lawyer or a rabbi, he decided to become an actor. He was made a member of the Elizabethan Society while attending City College. After receiving an American Academy of Dramatic Arts scholarship and changing his name to EDWARD G. (GOLDENBERG) ROBINSON, he started acting in stock productions. Starting in 1915, he appeared on Broadway. When sound was added to motion pictures, he began acting in movies on a regular basis. His first really big success was when he starred as the gangster RICO in LITTLE CAESAR. For a while he was stereotyped as a ganster. However, he starred in several highly regarded movies such as DOUBLE INDEMNITY and SCARLET STREET. Despite his great acting abilities, it is somewhat ironic that he was never nominated for an ACADEMY AWARD during his career.
Unfortunately, as with many celebrities, his life was beset with heartbreaking personal problems. Even though he was actively involved with many patriotic causes in and after WWII, he was accused of Communist activity. He was cleared by the Government of all charges. He had to sell his famous art collection, one of the World's best at that time, due to a divorce with his wife, actress GLADYS LLOYD. At the same time, his oldest son was having trouble with the Law and attempted suicide several times.
He overcame these disadvantages and returned to BROADWAY and the movies. After his death in 1973, he was awarded a special OSCAR for his film achievements. Like so many people who achieved greatness, he never got the joy of receiving honors while he was still alive.