Long before her final role as the grouchy bailiff on Night Court, Selma Diamond earned a reputation behind the scenes as a brilliant, salty comedy writer for some of the best shows on radio and television. Diamond began writing jokes for radio shows like You Bet Your Life, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and Sid Caesar’s Show of Shows in the 1940s and 1950s. Over the course of her career, she wrote for Jimmy Durante, Groucho Marx, and Perry Como, and she was a regular on the Jack Paar Show and the Tonight Show. Legendary comedy writer Goodman Ace hired her repeatedly for different projects for her acerbic wit, and she earned respect as one of the boys, commenting, “There’s no such thing as a woman comedy writer. I’m hired—and I’m fired—as a writer.” Diamond also acted in various roles throughout her career, from small parts in movies like My Favorite Year, All of Me, and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World to theater roles in Barefoot in the Park and Follies.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Selma Diamond." (Viewed on January 25, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/diamond-selma>.