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Hank Garrett Reveals a Deeply Troubled Life

Not everyone will know the name Hank Garrett, but television viewers of the 1960s will likely recognize him when they see him. After an early career as a wrestler, the character actor made a name for himself in a variety of roles on both film and television. He was featured most prominently as Officer Nicholson in the television show Car 54, Where Are You? The 1960s police sitcom turned Hank into a notable force in the entertainment industry. And he used that success to garner an incredibly fulfilling life. However, his life certainly hasn’t been without hardships. In fact, Hank worked incredibly hard to get to where he is today, and arguably deserves more recognition. Join Facts Verse as Hank Garrett reveals a deeply troubled life.

Hank Garrett was born Henry Greenberg Cohen Sandler Weinblatt on October 26, 1931. He was born in Harlem, New York City, to two Jewish Russian immigrants by the name of Sam and Ida Greenberg. The environment of Harlem was an oppressive force on Hank from a young age. And inspiring the child to began powerlifting at the age of 13. Soon, he was a full-blown practitioner of bodybuilding and the martials. And with enough skills and muscle to protect himself on the tough streets of Harlem. Despite his success at toughening up, fighting on the streets of Harlem wasn’t what Hank’s parents wanted for the young man. Thankfully, Ida had some connections that were going to prove beneficial in helping steer Hank on the straight and narrow path.

Hank was growing up in Harlem around the 1940s. And which meant that he was experiencing one the area’s most notorious times in history when it came to street violence. However, despite being a terrible time and place for crime, the 1940s in Harlem were also a great time and place for jazz music. Ida was a friend of Willie Bryant, a popular jazz bandleader that has colloquially referred to as the Mayor of Harlem. Ida asked a request of her friend, to help give Hank something to do that could keep him off the streets. Willie agreed, and took Hank with him one afternoon to the Apollo Theater, a popular theater in Harlem.

Sam and Ida dedicated all their time to selling fruits and vegetables from their pushcart, leaving them little time to hold influence over young Hank’s life. For this reason, Ida hoped that Willie could prove to be a more available role model for the young man. Thankfully, Willie was up to the task. However, he had some help from his good friend Sammy Davis Jr. Upon Hank’s arrival at the Apollo Theater. Willie took him to a dressing room and introduced him to Sammy himself. Sammy gave Hank a stern talking to about what it meant to be a tough guy on the streets of Harlem. And asking Hank whether or not that the life he wanted for himself. Sammy struck a chord with Hank, and successfully convinced the boy to give a life of hard work a try.

Willie gave young Hank a job as a “band boy”, meaning he tasked with setting up the music stands for the musicians performing in the band. Being in the arts scene gave Hank a taste for performance himself, and he soon became interested in stand-up comedy. He began practicing and honing his craft. However, a different career path was soon going to appear in the form of professional wrestling. Hank never gave up his love of bodybuilding, and it was going to pay off in this new career immensely.

In 1958, Hank won the Junior Olympic Powerlifting Competition. Using this notoriety, he developed a prominent wrestling career under the name of The Minnesota Farm Boy. Late in his career, Hank fought a young Jimmy Snuka. Hank inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2009. Although his success as a wrestler has proven to be only one of his many accomplishments.

Despite Hank’s apparent success throughout the 1950s, the decade wasn’t all a walk in the park for the young man. The decade saw him get into a car accident that left him gravely injured. Emergency responders believed that Hank wasn’t going to live. When he survived, it believed that he wasn’t ever going to be able to walk again. Miraculously, Hank made a full recovery, and was able to continue with his pro-wrestling career for the time being. However, a new career path was soon going to open up for him in the form of an acting career. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! As well, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!

After calling it quits on the pro-wrestling scene, numerous odd jobs followed for Hank Garrett before he ended up finding his way in front of the camera. He served as an officer on the New York police force for a time being before eventually being chosen to play a character on the American police sitcom Car 54, Where Are You?

Car 54, Where Are You? aired from 1961 to 1963, and featured Hank as memorable supporting character Officer Nicholson. From here, Hank was able to secure a number of other smaller guest roles on other shows. He has featured in a wide variety of shows, including The Dukes of Hazzard, Three’s Company, Knight Rider, Columbo, and Dragnet. He has also provided voice talent in cartoons, such as GI Joe and Garfield.

When it came to his film career, Hank has never had quite as much luck as on television. However, that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t had a fair share of successes in cinema, including some memorable on-set incidents with some beloved stars. Hank featured in such films as Death Wish alongside Charles Bronson and Serpico alongside Al Pacino. But his most memorable film role is arguably in the Robert Redford vehicle Three Days of the Condor. Not only was Hank’s performance in the film memorable. But it also inspired a memorable incident on set alongside Robert himself.

In Three Days of the Condor, Hank played a hitman that attacked Robert Redford’s character. Hank took the role so seriously that he accidentally gave Robert Redford a bloody nose. When Hank received the news that Robert’s nose broken, he prepared to fired from the film. However, the forgiving Robert was simply thankful that Hank had put so much effort into the performance. According to Robert, it was one of the greatest action scenes that he had filmed.

In addition to Al Pacino, Robert Redford, and Charles Bronson, Hank has also gotten the chance to work with a number of other Hollywood legends over the course of his career. He has worked with James Earl Jones, Faye Dunaway, Sophia Loren, Christopher Lloyd, Patrick Stewart, Peter Falk, and Kathleen Turner, among others. Hank also got the chance to spar with none other than Elvis Presley. After a fellow comedian revealed to the singer that Hank was a black belt. Given that Elvis was a black belt himself, he always jumped at the chance to test his skills. The two sparred amicably, and Hank has always expressed that Elvis was one of the best fighters that he has gone against. Sadly, Elvis never took it upon himself to hire Hank as an antagonist in one of his own feature films.

Hank’s spar with Elvis certainly hasn’t been his only notable celebrity encounter off the screen. Hank did some work as a bodyguard during the 1950s. And one night he tasked with escorting none other than Audrey Hepburn. Hank chaperoned her out to a club. Upon arrival, Hank expected to have to wait with the rest of the help. However, Audrey insisted that Hank stay by her side for dinner. He sat beside her the whole night. And has recalled that he was smiling the entire evening due to her presence.

Nowadays, Hank continues to practice his comedy, which he hasn’t stopped doing since he was a teenager. Currently, he is working on a one-man show. He has married three times over the course of his life. His first wife was a woman by the name of Agnes Deangelis. They were married from 1963 until 1979. Several years later, Hank married Linda Deblasio, and they stayed married from 1982 until 2008. He is now married to his third wife, Deanna Marie Smith.

With the right breakout role, Hank could’ve potentially been an action star in the same vein as Charles Bronson or Chuck Norris. However, things never quite worked out that way. Still, he is fondly regarded for the many roles that he has performed. And fans still know that he’s one of the most authentic tough guys to have ever graced the screen.

Hank has developed such a reputation for being a tough guy, that he has even been given his own “Tough Guy” fragrance by CBT Candle Los Angeles. The company sells an exclusive fragrance that is endorsed by Hank himself. Featuring a scent that will make you smell just like the legendary action star! According the website, Hank has a woody aroma reminiscent of sandalwood, basil, ginger, and sandalwood. Although this fragrance might make you smell like Hank, it is the unique hardships that he has endured over his life that have made him the tough guy that he is.

Although Hank Garrett has never quite gotten as much recognition as other tough guys from around the same time. He remains one of the realest to ever grace the screen. Comment down below to share if you remember Hank from Car 54, Where Are You? or if you were surprised to learn that the actor was capable of holding his own in a black belt showdown against the legendary Elvis Presley. As always, like this video to show your support. And subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!

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