Fred Allen
(Movies & TV)
(Movies & TV)
George Burns
(Movies & TV)
Ronald Colman
(Movies & TV)

See also

Jack Benny

Knowledge Identifier: +Jack_Benny


Jack Benny

American comedian, vaudevillian, radio, television, and film actor, and also a notable violinist add

Category: Movies & TV

Born in 1894.

Countries: United States (83%), United Kingdom (3%), California (3%)

Education: undef.

Main connections: Fred Allen, CBS, Jell-O

Linked to: Waukegan High School, Chevrolet, Jews, Texaco




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Jack Benny was born in 1894 add something


In 1911, Benny was playing in the same theater as the young Marx Brothers, whose mother Minnie was so enchanted with Benny's musicianship that she invited him to be their permanent accompanist add something


Benny left show business briefly in 1917 to join the U.S. Navy during World War I, and he often entertained the troops with his violin playing add something


By 1921, the fiddle became more of a prop and the low-key comedy took over add something


In 1922, Jack accompanied Zeppo Marx to a Passover seder where he met Sadie Marks, whom he married in 1927 after meeting again on a double-date add something


Eva Novak - " She co-starred with Betty Bronson and Jack Benny in "The Medicine Man" and appeared in the 1922 film "Chasing the Moon" which was an early forerunner of the 1950s film "D.O.A." In the late 1920s, she and her husband moved to Australia where she made numerous films, including The Romance of Runnibede


Benny's Maxwell later became a 1923 Tourer add something


Ernie Morrison - Morrison left the series in 1924 to work in vaudeville, where his talents were featured on the same bills with such up and coming acts as Abbott and Costello and Jack Benny


Benny acted in movies, including the Academy award-winning "The Hollywood Revue of 1929", "Broadway Melody of 1936" , "George Washington Slept Here" , and notably, "Charley's Aunt" and "To Be or Not to Be" add something


Benny was signed to a five-year contract and his first film role was in "The Hollywood Revue of 1929" add something


In 1929, Benny's agent Sam Lyons convinced MGM's Irving Thalberg to catch Benny's act at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles add something


Benny had been only a minor vaudeville performer, but he became a national figure with "The Jack Benny Program", a weekly radio show that ran from 1932 to 1948 on NBC and from 1949 to 1955 on CBS add something


Benny's first sponsor was Canada Dry Ginger Ale from 1932 to 1933 add something


In 1932, after a four-week nightclub run, he was invited onto Ed Sullivan's radio program, uttering his first radio spiel "This is Jack Benny talking add something


With Canada Dry Ginger Ale as a sponsor, Benny came to radio on "The Canada Dry Program", beginning May 2, 1932, on the NBC Blue Network and continuing there for six months until October 26, moving the show to CBS on October 30 add something


Al Boasberg - He is credited with helping to create stand-up comedy when he teamed with then-youthful vaudeville performer Jack Benny, helping develop Benny's familiar, reactive skinflint and thus helping make Benny a major star when he transitioned to radio in 1932


Benny's sponsors included Chevrolet from 1933 to 1934, General Tire in 1934, and Jell-O from 1934 to 1942 add something


With Ted Weems leading the band, Benny stayed on CBS until January 26, 1933 add something


In October, 1934, General Foods, the makers of "Jell-O" and "Grape-Nuts", became the sponsor most identified with Jack, for the next ten years add something


Arriving at NBC on March 17, Benny did "The Chevrolet Program" until April 1, 1934 add something


Andy Devine - He appeared over 75 times on Jack Benny's radio show between 1936 and 1942, often appearing in Benny's semi-regular western series of sketches "Buck Benny Rides Again"


In 1937, Benny began his famous radio "feud" with rival Fred Allen add something


Fred Allen - Good friends in real life, Fred Allen and Jack Benny inadvertently hatched a running gag in 1937, when a child prodigy, violinist Stuart Canin, gave a very credible performance on the Allen show, inspiring an Allen wisecrack about "a certain alleged violinist," who should hide in shame over his poor playing


Ynez Seabury - In 1937 she was a member of the cast of the CBS Radio Theater dramatization of "Brewster's Millions", which featured Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone


Jules C. Stein - In 1937, MCA opened shop in Hollywood and became the agent for such stars as Bette Davis, Betty Grable, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Eddie Cantor, Ingrid Bergman, Frank Sinatra and Jack Benny


Eddie Anderson (comedian) - Anderson's first appearance on "The Jack Benny Program" was on 28 March 1937


Keene Thompson - Keene became ill in June 1937, just after completing the script for the Jack Benny musical comedy "Artists and Models"


Ezra Stone - Goldsmith brought Henry and his family to sketches for popular radio series featuring singers Rudy Vallee and Kate Smith, before the sketches' popularity moved NBC to give Goldsmith a chance to develop a full half-hour comedy as a summer replacement for Jack Benny in 1938


Eddie Anderson (comedian) - In July 1939, Anderson appeared on screen for the first time with radio boss Jack Benny, in the film "Man About Town"


Benny often parodied contemporary movies and movie genres on the radio program, and the 1940 film "Buck Benny Rides Again" features all the main radio characters in a funny Western parody adapted from program skits add something


Johnny Green - He also, until 1940, conducted orchestras for the Jack Benny and Philip Morris records and radio shows


Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - The March 10, 1940 broadcast of Jack Benny's NBC radio show featured a parody entitled "Mr. Benny Goes to Washington


Ernst Lubitsch - Lubitsch went independent to direct That Uncertain Feeling, and the dark anti-Nazi farce To Be or Not to Be, which was Jack Benny's only major screen success and Carole Lombard's last picture.


General Foods switched the Benny program from Jell-O to Grape-Nuts from 1942 to 1944, and it became, naturally, "The Grape Nuts Program Starring Jack Benny" add something


Percy Kilbride - He left Broadway for good in 1942, when Jack Benny insisted that Kilbride reprise his Broadway role in the film version of "George Washington Slept Here"


By 1943, Jack Benny's Maxwell had become such a well known aspect of popular culture that it was referenced in the Spike Jones record "The Sound Effects Man" add something


Burns and Allen and Orson Welles guest hosted several episodes in March and April 1943 when Benny was seriously ill with pneumonia, while Ronald Colman and his wife Benita Hume appeared frequently in the 1940s as Benny's long-suffering neighbors add something


Orson Welles - Welles guest-starred on a great variety of shows, notably guest-hosting Jack Benny shows for a month in 1943.


American Tobacco's "Lucky Strike" was his longest-lasting radio sponsor, from October, 1944, through the end of his original radio series add something


Benny's longest-running sponsor, however, was the American Tobacco Company's Lucky Strike cigarettes, from 1944 to 1955, when the show was usually announced as "The Lucky Strike Program starring Jack Benny" add something


In the 1946 Christmas episode, for example, Benny buys shoelaces for Don, and is unable to make up his mind whether to give Wilson shoelaces with plastic tips or shoelaces with metal tips add something


The Lost Weekend (film) - On March 10, 1946, three days after winning the Academy *award, Milland appeared as a guest on a radio broadcast of "The Jack Benny Show"


The company gave Benny the opportunity to produce and package other radio programs , and invest in other entertainment ventures, including the production of a 1949 feature film, "The Lucky Stiff", starring Dorothy Lamour, and as a key financial backer of the 1948 Broadway version of Mister Roberts, starring Henry Fonda add something


The quartet's back-and-forth, which centered on Stern's recent public performance of a Mendelssohn piece, was heard on an episode first broadcast on February 16, 1947 add something


In 1948, it became apparent to Benny how much the times had changed when a 1941 script for "The Jack Benny Program" was re-used for one week's show add something


In an episode that was broadcast March 28, 1948, Benny borrowed neighbor Ronald Colman's Oscar, and was returning home when he was accosted by a mugger add something


According to Jack himself, Mary Livingstone got the biggest laugh he ever heard on the show, on the April 25, 1948, broadcast add something


Phil Harris - Harris continued to appear on Jack Benny's show, along with his own, from 1948 to 1952


Walter Winchell - In 1948 Winchell had the top-rated radio show when he surpassed Fred Allen and Jack Benny


Benny first appeared on television in a brief appearance on the inaugural broadcast of Los Angeles station KTTV on January 1, 1949 add something


Benny's CBS debut on January 2, 1949 bested his top NBC rating by several points while pumping up the ratings of the show that followed, "Amos 'n' Andy" add something


Meredith Willson - He worked on Jack Benny's radio program, and hosted his own program in 1949


Henry Morgan (comedian) - Morgan, for his part, claimed Allen as a primary influence; Allen often had Morgan as a guest on his own radio hit, including and especially the final " Fred Allen Show" in 1949, in a sketch that featured Jack Benny


Fred Allen - He decided to take a year off, but it did more for his health than his career; after the June 26, 1949 show, on which Henry Morgan and Jack Benny guested, Fred Allen never hosted another radio show full-time again


Benny and his archaic auto were featured in a series of television and print ads for Texaco from the 1950s through the 1970s add something


Canadian singer Gisele MacKenzie, who toured with Benny in the early 1950s, guest starred seven times on "The Jack Benny Program" add something


When the Jack Benny Program began appearing on television in 1950, a 1916 Maxwell Model 25 Tourer became one of the production's standard props add something


On the broadcast of January 8, 1950, journalist Drew Pearson was the subject of a joke gone wrong add something


The television version of "The Jack Benny Program" ran from October 28, 1950, to 1965 add something


Frank Fontaine - Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he is best known for his appearances on television shows of the 1950s and 1960s, including "The Jackie Gleason Show", "The Jack Benny Show", and "The Tonight Show"


C. Cameron Macauley - He is known for a series of portraits he produced mostly in the 1950s, including photographs of Jack Benny, Aldous_Huxley, Frank Lloyd Wright, Count Basie, Buster Keaton and John Houseman


James Stewart - In the 1950s he had made guest appearances on the Jack Benny Program.


NBC - Aiming to keep classic radio alive as television matured, and to challenge CBS's Sunday night radio lineup, much of which had jumped from NBC with Jack Benny, NBC launched "The Big Show" in November 1950


Day appeared sporadically, and Harris had left the radio program in 1952, although he did make a guest appearance on the television show add something


In 1953, both Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart made their television debuts on Benny's program add something


CBS - An example of CBS Television Network's imaging may be seen in a video of "The Jack Benny Program" from 1953; the video appears to be converted from kinescope, and "unscoped" or unedited


Harry Shearer - Born in Los Angeles, California, Shearer began his career as a child actor, appearing in "The Jack Benny Program", as well as the 1953 films "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars" and "The Robe"


George Burns - Several of their good friend Jack Benny's 1953-55 filmed episodes were produced by McCadden for CBS


From the fall of 1954 to 1960, it appeared every other week, and from 1960 to 1965 it was seen weekly add something


It enjoyed a successful run from 1954 until 1958 add something


In September 1954, CBS premiered Chrysler's "Shower of Stars" co-hosted by Jack Benny and William Lundigan add something


There it stayed for the remainder of its radio run, which ended on May 22, 1955 add something


Irene Tedrow - In 1955 she appeared on the Jack Benny Show as a contestant with Jack Benny on a mock You Bet Your Life segment with Groucho Marx


Johnny Carson - In 1955, Jack Benny invited Carson to appear on one of his programs during the opening and closing segments


Sue Mengers - Mengers' entry into the talent agency business was in 1955 as a receptionist at MCA, at the time the dominant company of the trade, with a roster of clients that included Jack Benny, George_Burns and Gracie Allen, Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift


CBS - The high-rated Jack Benny Program ended its radio run in 1955, and Edgar Bergen's Sunday-night show went off the air in 1957


Benny was profoundly shaken by Allen's sudden death of a heart attack in 1956 add something


CBS aired repeats of old radio episodes from 1956 to 1958 as "The Best of Benny" add something


Peggy King - She appeared in Bob Hope's 1956 "Chevy Show" , "American Bandstand", "Maverick", "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" and "The Jack Benny Show"


Benny donated a Stradivarius violin purchased in 1957 to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra add something


Livingstone appeared rarely if at all on the television show , and finally retired from show business permanently in 1958, as her friend Gracie Allen had done add something


Jo Stafford - In 1958, Stafford and Weston appeared as the Edwardses on Jack Benny's television program "Shower of Stars", and in 1960 on "The Garry Moore Show"


Jayne Mansfield - In 1958, an orchestra was recorded for the 31st Academy *awards ceremony with Jack Benny on first violin, Jayne Mansfield on violin, Dick Powell on trumpet, Robert Mitchum on woodwind, Fred Astaire on drums and Jerry Lewis as conductor; however, the performance was canceled


Darla Hood - Hood was a guest on such TV shows of the early 1960s as "Tell It to Groucho" and "The Jack Benny Show", where she appeared on October 30, 1962 as "Darla" in a spoof of the "Our Gang" comedies with Jack Benny


Dimitri Tiomkin - These include being the mystery challenger on "What's My Line-" and an appearance on Jack Benny's CBS program in December 1961, in which he attempted to help Benny write a song


After his broadcasting career ended, Benny performed live as a stand up comedian and returned to films in 1963 with a cameo appearance in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" add something


CBS dropped the show in 1964, citing Benny's lack of appeal to the younger demographic the network began courting, and he went to NBC, his original network, in the fall, only to be out-rated by CBS's "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." The network dropped Benny at the end of the season add something


In 1964, Walt Disney was a guest, primarily to promote his production of "Mary Poppins" add something


In his unpublished autobiography, "I Always Had Shoes" , Benny said that he, not NBC, made the decision to end his TV series in 1965 add something


Dennis Day - He continued to appear as a regular cast member when "The Jack Benny Program" became a TV series, staying with the show until it ended in 1965


He continued to make occasional specials into the 1970s add something


Benny made one of his final television appearances in the fall of 1972 on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" when Carson celebrated his 10th anniversary add something


Benny was preparing to star in the film version of Neil Simon's "The Sunshine Boys" when his health failed in 1974 add something


His last television appearance was in 1974, on a The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast for Lucille Ball add something

Jack Benny died in 1974 add something


In October 1974, Benny canceled a performance in Dallas after suffering a dizzy spell, coupled with numbness in his arms add something


George Burns - In 1974, Jack Benny signed to play one of the lead roles in the film version of Neil Simon's "The Sunshine Boys"


Livingstone died nine years later on June 30, 1983 add something


The U.S. Postal Service had issued a stamp depicting Jack Benny in 1991, as part of a booklet of stamps honoring comedians; however, the stamp was issued at the then-current rate of 29 cents add something


When the price of a standard first-class U.S. postal stamp was increased to 39 cents in 2006, fans petitioned for a Jack Benny stamp to honor his stage persona's perpetual age add something


Kirk Douglas - In one of his early television appearances, Douglas was a musical guest on The Jack Benny Program.