Jack Benny

Comedian + Vaudeville Performer + Radio + Television + Film Actor
Born Feb 14, 1894

Jack Benny was an American comedian, vaudevillian, radio, television, and film actor, and also a notable violinist. Widely recognized as one of the leading American entertainers of the 20th century, Benny played the role of the comic penny-pinching miser, insisting on remaining 39 years old on stage despite his actual age, and often playing the violin badly.… Read More

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1894 Birth Born on February 14, 1894.


1911 17 Years Old In 1911, Benny was playing in the same theater as the young Marx Brothers. … Read More


1917 23 Years Old Benny left show business briefly in 1917 to join the United States Navy during World War I, and often entertained the troops with his violin playing. … Read More
1921 27 Years Old In 1921, Benny accompanied Zeppo Marx to a Passover seder in Vancouver at the residence where he met 14-year-old Sadie Marks. Their first meeting did not go well when he tried to leave during Sadie's violin performance. They met again in 1926. Jack had not remembered their earlier meeting and instantly fell for her. They married in 1927. … Read More


1929 35 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1929 Benny's agent, Sam Lyons, convinced Irving Thalberg, American film producer at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, to watch Benny at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.
In 1932, after a four-week nightclub run, he was invited on to Ed Sullivan's radio program, uttering his first radio spiel "This is Jack Benny talking. … Read More
1933 39 Years Old With Ted Weems leading the band, Benny stayed on CBS until January 26, 1933.


1934 40 Years Old 1 More Event
Arriving at NBC on March 17, Benny did The Chevrolet Program until April 1, 1934. … Read More
1936 42 Years Old In 1936, after a few years of broadcasting from New York, Benny moved the show to Los Angeles, allowing him to bring in guests from among his show business friends, including Frank Sinatra, James Stewart, Judy Garland, Barbara Stanwyck, Bing Crosby, Burns and Allen (George Burns was Benny's closest friend), and many others. … Read More
1940 46 Years Old …  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. … Read More
1942 48 Years Old …  General Foods switched the Benny program from Jell-O to Grape-Nuts from 1942 to 1944, and it was, naturally, The Grape Nuts Program Starring Jack Benny.


1944 50 Years Old Benny's longest-running sponsor, 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. … Read More
In an episode broadcast March 28, 1948, Benny borrowed neighbor Ronald Colman's Oscar, and was returning home when he was accosted by a mugger (voiced by comedian Eddie Marr). … Read More
1949 55 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Benny's CBS debut on January 2, 1949 bested his top NBC rating by several points while also pumping up the ratings of the show that followed, Amos 'n' Andy. … Read More
1953 59 Years Old 1 More Event
For the 1953–1954 season, half the episodes were live and half were filmed during the summer, to allow Benny to continue doing his radio show. … Read More


1954 60 Years Old 1 More Event
On March 28, 1954, Benny co-hosted General Foods 25th Anniversary Show: A Salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein with Groucho Marx and Mary Martin.
1956 62 Years Old Benny was profoundly shaken by Allen's sudden death from a heart attack in 1956.
1957 63 Years Old 1 More Event
As a gag, Benny made a 1957 appearance on the then-wildly popular $64,000 Question. … Read More
1964 70 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1964, Walt Disney was a guest, primarily to promote his production of Mary Poppins. … Read More
1965 71 Years Old In his unpublished autobiography, I Always Had Shoes (portions of which were later incorporated by Jack's daughter, Joan Benny, into her memoir of her parents, Sunday Nights at Seven), Benny said that he, not NBC, made the decision to end his TV series in 1965.
1973 79 Years Old Benny made one of his final television appearances July 20, 1973 on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
He continued to make occasional specials into the 1970s, the last one airing in January 1974.
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