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Hank Garrett, comedian biography, actor biography, classic television, Harlem, wrestling, success story

Up From The Streets
The Many Lives of Hank Garrett by Hank Garrett and Deanna-Marie Smith

Hank Garrett was raised in a multi-cultural neighborhood. In the 1950s, poverty was a way of life. Survival was the goal and violence was the means. By age 12, Hank was carrying a .25 caliber handgun. He would either end up dead or in prison.

But a serendipitous meeting with Sammy Davis Jr. changed the trajectory of Hank’s life, and Hank stepped into the worlds of comedy, acting, martial arts, and wrestling. Lying about his age, at 17, Hank balanced a career as a pro wrestler with doing comedy acts at various clubs, all while still attending high school. By age 19 he had landed a role in a successful television series.

With success also came challenges, however. Hank experienced love, loss, injury, and discrimination. Opportunities were lost or stolen from him. But Hank persevered. The fight inside the man, which could have proved disastrous, became his greatest asset. Up from the Streets is a true story of survival, redemption, and hope.

"I interviewed Hank Garrett on my podcast.  An hour wasn’t nearly enough time for all the fun and interesting stories he had to tell.  Now, this book will go into full detail."

—Gilbert Gottfried, Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast out of NYC  

"Hank is truly a multi-faceted and outstanding talent. But what’s more, he’s a true gentleman. His life story is fascinating, particularly when you consider his beginnings on the streets of Harlem, New York, where he was heading downhill fast."

—Gene LeBell, Actor, Stuntman, and Judo World Champion

"When I first met Hank I realized this is someone to be reckoned with.  Yet I had a chance to work with him and found him young at heart with a wonderful sense of humor, one of his many gifts.  He's a Warrior of the Light and a true brother." 

—"Benny the Jet" Urquidez, Six-Time World Kickboxing Champ. 

"Hank’s remarkable life story is the stuff of Hollywood movies, but, it’s true and inspirational.  Six decades in, his relentless drive to make a difference for youth only grows stronger, with The Hank Garrett  Young Storytellers Award presented each season at The AOF MEGAFEST International Film Festivals and Writers Competitions, Founded/Produced by Del Weston with Festival Director Theresa Weston."  

—Harold L. Brown,  Co-Creator of The Hank Garrett Young Storytellers Award

"Hank is absolutely the veterans' friend, from Vietnam where he entertained and inspired to today, working with honorably discharged veterans who ended up in prison. He truly walks the walk and we veterans can tell the Real McCoy; that's our Hank." 

—Chaplain DOV Cohen, President, LA National Cemetery Foundation

"Aside from his many accomplishments, Hank is a man with a giving heart.  He travels around the country doing celebrity autograph shows, with all proceeds going to Disabled American Veterans. "

—"Dr. Bob" Goldman, Co-Founder & Chairman, World Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine; Founder & Chairman, Int'l Sports Hall of Fame, etc.

Hank Garrett and Deanna-Marie Smith photo

Born Henry Greenberg Cohen Sandler Weinblatt, Hank Garrett has had careers in professional wrestling, acting, and comedy. Inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame as well as the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Garrett has also been recognized as an actor with a New York Film Critics’ Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. He is well known for his role as Officer Nicholson on the classic TV series Car 54, Where are You?, and his award-winning fight scene as the postman in the movie Three Days of the Condor, with Robert Redford.

Garrett’s current work includes motivational speaking and working with incarcerated youth. He brings personal perspective and an understanding of poverty and life on the streets, and hopes to encourage and inspire young people to reach their potential. He is the co-creator of the Hank Garrett Young Storyteller’s Award, which recognizes the creative achievements of youth 15 and younger.

Hank Garrett lives in California.


Deanna-Marie Smith (aka "Red Warrior") is a writer with an eclectic background from international fashion design to Wall Street and then Hollywood. She is currently working on a documentary called, "Hollywood Dreamin'."


Hank Garrett
Deanna-Marie Smith

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