Ernie Kovacs

Comedian + Actor

Ernie Kovacs was an American comedian and actor. Kovacs' uninhibited, often ad-libbed, and visually experimental comedic style came to influence numerous television comedy programs for years after his death in an automobile accident.

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1919 Birth Born on January 23, 1919.


1937 18 Years Old Though a poor student, Kovacs was influenced by his Trenton Central High School drama teacher, Harold Van Kirk, and received an acting scholarship at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1937 with Mr. Van Kirk's help. … Read More
1938 19 Years Old A 1938 local newspaper photo shows Kovacs as a member of the Prospect Players, not yet wearing his trademark mustache. … Read More


1939 20 Years Old While working in Vermont in 1939, he became so seriously ill with pneumonia and pleurisy that his doctors didn't expect him to survive. … Read More
1941 22 Years Old 1 More Event
Kovacs' first paid entertainment work came in 1941, as a disc jockey on Trenton's WTTM radio. … Read More
1945 26 Years Old 1 More Event
The Trentonian, a local weekly newspaper, offered Kovacs a column in June 1945; he called it "Kovacs Unlimited".


1950 31 Years Old Showing up at NBC's Philadelphia affiliate, WPTZ (now KYW-TV), for an audition wearing a barrel and shorts got Kovacs his first television job in January 1950. … Read More
…  Kovacs continued the EEFMS on his morning show when he moved to WCBS, New York in 1952. … Read More
While both programs were canceled, Kovacs lost his local morning program for the same reason as Three to Get Ready-the air time was taken by the station's network in 1954. … Read More
1956 37 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Kovacs developed the Eugene character during the fall of 1956 when hosting The Tonight Show. … Read More
1957 38 Years Old He also served as host on a jazz Album to benefit the American Cancer Society in 1957, Listening to Jazz with Ernie Kovacs. … Read More
1958 39 Years Old …  Kovacs also wrote the introduction to the 1958 collection Mad For Keeps: A Collection of the Best from Mad Magazine. … Read More


1959 40 Years Old Kovacs also appeared in roles on other television programs. For General Electric Theater's "I Was a Bloodhound" in 1959, Kovacs played the role of detective Barney Colby, whose extraordinary sense of smell helped him solve many seemingly impossible cases. … Read More
1960 41 Years Old …  In 1960, he played the off-center base commander Charlie Stark in the comedy Wake Me When It's Over (1960). … Read More
…  The 1962 Emmy for outstanding electronic camera work and the Directors' Guild award came a short time after his fatal accident. … Read More
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