Bert Lahr (August 13, 1895 – December 4, 1967) was an American Tony Award-winning comic actor.
Born Irving Lahrheim in New York City, Lahr is best remembered today for his role as the Cowardly Lion and the Kansas farm worker Zeke in the classic 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, but known during his life for a career in burlesque, vaudeville and Broadway.
Dropping out of school at the age of fifteen to join a juvenile vaudeville act, Lahr worked his way up to top billing on the Columbia Burlesque Circuit. In 1927 he debuted in on Broadway in Harry Delmar's Revels. Lahr played to packed houses, performing classic routines such as "The Song of the Woodman" (which he later reprised in the film Merry-Go-Round of 1938). Lahr had his first major success in a stage musical playing the prize fighter hero of Hold Everything (1928-29). Several other musicals followed, notably Flying High (1930), Florenz Ziegfeld's Hot-Cha! (1932) and The Show Is On (1936) in which he co-starred with Beatrice Lillie. In 1939, he co-starred with Ethel Merman in DuBarry Was a Lady.
Lahr made his feature film debut in 1931's Flying High, playing the part of the oddball aviator he had previously played on stage. He signed with New York-based Educational Pictures for a series of two-reel comedies. When that series ended, he came back to Hollywood to work in feature films. Aside from The Wizard of Oz (1939), his movie career was limited.