Jack Benny
comedian, vaudeville performer, and radio, television, and film actor
Jack Benny
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.
Biography
Jack Benny's personal information overview.
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Popular photos of Jack Benny
News
News abour Jack Benny from around the web
Dolores Hope, Bob Hope’s Widow, Dies at 102
NYTimes - over 5 years
Dolores Hope, who gave up her singing career to spend 69 years at the side of her husband, Bob Hope , pursuing philanthropy and projecting with him the image of an enduring Hollywood marriage, died on Monday in the home she and her husband bought in 1940 in the Toluca Lake section of Los Angeles. She was 102. Her death was announced by her
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THE WEEK AHEAD | SEPT. 4 - SEPT. 10
NYTimes - over 5 years
Television Kathryn Shattuck In the opening of ''MEL BROOKS AND DICK CAVETT TOGETHER AGAIN,''Friday at 9 p.m. on HBO, Mr. Brooks glances over at Mr. Cavett, eyes narrowing, a grin cleaving his face. ''I hate to say this in front of him, but I feel somewhat like a panther, a leopard on an overhanging limb of a tree,'' Mr. Brooks says. ''And I feel
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Create a Memorial - Tulsa World
Google News - over 5 years
Shoalmire, Jack Benny, 68, retired Ford Glass Plant supervisor, died Saturday. Services pending. Moore's Eastlawn. Stadler, Betty Lee, 88, homemaker, died Sunday. Services pending. Moore's Southlawn. Vang, Ying, 53, retired from Nordam Co.,
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Role Models (Only Blacks Need Apply) - BernardGoldberg.com (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
I was very much aware of boxing great Benny Leonard, football legend Sid Luckman, Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg, and any number of show business luminaries, including John Garfield, Jack Benny, George Burns, Artie Shaw, and Eddie G. Robinson
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vintage TV shows released on DVD - Deseret News
Google News - over 5 years
An array of reissued, repackaged and repriced vintage programs has been released this week, featuring Jack Benny, Johnny Carson, Betty White and many more stars of early television. These are all public-domain
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Tonia Bern-Campbell Brings PIAF, CHEVALIER, BREL… AND ME To Palm Springs - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
It was at the famed Savoy in London, were she was approached by Jack Benny to guest on his TV show. Next came a stage production in Italy, for which she won the coveted Passerella d'Oro Award for best musical performance before returning to the London
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Memories of Bob Hope and Disney - MousePlanet
Google News - over 5 years
Malibu Beach Party (1940) along with many other Hollywood stars at Jack Benny's party. Another interesting Disney connection is that former Disney artist Owen Fitzgerald designed a classic Hope caricature which he used when he illustrated 80
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Classic Hollywood: Jack Carter going strong after 60-plus years - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
He's full of stories of the golden age of comedy, waxing about his friendships with such legends as Jack Benny, George Burns and Fred Allen and the thrill he got playing clubs such as the Copa in New York City. "The Copa was so exciting," he said
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Capri celebrates 70th Thursday with 1941's "Love Thy Neighbor," theater's ... - Montgomery Advertiser
Google News - over 5 years
File Photo, Montgomery Advertiser, David Bundy Montgomery's only independent movie theatre, the Capri, will celebrate its 70th anniversary by showing the first film ever projected at the theatre, “Love Thy Neighbor,“ starring Jack Benny, Fred Allen and
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Comedy on the Edge - Laughlin Entertainer
Google News - over 5 years
O'Rourke: Jack Benny, because he could get laughs without saying a word; Johnny Carson, who holds the record for the longest laugh without doing anything. I liked guys like Shecky Green, Jan Murray and Jack Carter. I joined the Friars' Club just to
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Uncovering the dark side of Benny Hill - Herald Scotland
Google News - over 5 years
Behind closed doors the man who would become Benny (in tribute to Jack Benny, and the belief that a Jewish-sounding name would provide success by association) would wear ridiculous outfits in drag in order to garner laughs
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Here's to Reagan: his kind light up our political world - Left Foot Forward
Google News - over 5 years
And Jack Benny is Secretary of the Treasury!” And much of the world still has the same attitude. It is as unbelievable that Ronald Reagan could be president as the suggestion that George W Bush could be. That says more about us than him
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Why We Should Still Honor America - Charisma News Online
Google News - over 5 years
Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Jack Benny, Glen Campbell, The New Christy Minstrels and Teresa Graves were among those who performed that day. According to liner notes on the album, Honor America Day was denounced by the extreme right and the extreme left,
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Classic Comedy: the Famous “Si..Sy” Routine of Jack Benny and Mel Blanc - The Moderate Voice
Google News - over 5 years
One of the funniest classic routines was done waaaaaaaay before my time by radio-TV comedy star Jack Benny (who was one of the comedians credited with inventing the situation comedy on radio) and Mel Blanc. It is as funny today as when it was first
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Jack Benny
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1974
    Age 80
    Benny went into a coma at home on December 22, 1974.
    More Details Hide Details While in a coma, he was visited by close friends including George Burns, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson and John Rowles.
    In October 1974, Benny canceled a performance in Dallas after suffering a dizzy spell, coupled with numbness in his arms.
    More Details Hide Details Despite a battery of tests, Benny's ailment could not be determined. When he complained of stomach pains in early December, a first test showed nothing, but a subsequent one showed he had inoperable pancreatic cancer.
    Despite his failing health, Benny made several appearances on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast in his final eighteen months, roasting Ronald Reagan, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope and Lucille Ball, in addition to himself being roasted in February 1974.
    More Details Hide Details His roasting of Lucille Ball was his last public performance, and aired on February 7, 1975, several weeks after his death.
    Benny was preparing to star in the film version of Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys when his health failed in 1974.
    More Details Hide Details In fact, he prevailed upon his longtime best friend, George Burns, to take his place on a nightclub tour while preparing for the film. Burns ultimately had to replace Benny in the film as well and went on to win an Academy Award for his performance.
    He continued to make occasional specials into the 1970s, the last one airing in January 1974.
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  • 1973
    Age 79
    Benny made one of his final television appearances July 20, 1973 on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
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  • 1965
    Age 71
    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.
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  • 1964
    Age 70
    In due course the ratings game finally got to Benny, too. 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.
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    In 1964, Walt Disney was a guest, primarily to promote his production of Mary Poppins.
    More Details Hide Details Benny persuaded Disney to give him over 100 free admission tickets to Disneyland for his friends, but later in the show Disney apparently sent his pet tiger after Benny as revenge, at which point Benny opened his umbrella and soared above the stage like Mary Poppins.
  • 1957
    Age 63
    Benny was so impressed with MacKenzie's talents that he served as co-executive producer and guest starred on her 1957–1958 NBC variety show, The Gisele MacKenzie Show.
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    As a gag, Benny made a 1957 appearance on the then-wildly popular $64,000 Question.
    More Details Hide Details His category of choice was "Violins", but after answering the first question correctly Benny opted out of continuing, leaving the show with just $64; host Hal March gave Benny the prize money out of his own pocket. March made an appearance on Benny's show the same year.
  • 1956
    Age 62
    Benny was profoundly shaken by Allen's sudden death from a heart attack in 1956.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1954
    Age 60
    In September 1954, CBS premiered Chrysler's Shower of Stars co-hosted by Jack Benny and William Lundigan.
    More Details Hide Details It enjoyed a successful run from 1954 until 1958. Both television shows often overlapped the radio show. In fact, the radio show alluded frequently to its television counterparts. Often as not, Benny would sign off the radio show in such circumstances with the line "Well, good night, folks. I'll see you on television." When Benny moved to television, audiences learned that his verbal talent was matched by his controlled repertory of dead-pan facial expressions and gesture. The program was similar to the radio show (several of the radio scripts were recycled for television, as was somewhat common with other radio shows that moved to television), but with the addition of visual gags. Lucky Strike was the sponsor. Benny did his opening and closing monologues before a live audience, which he regarded as essential to timing of the material. As in other TV comedy shows, canned laughter was sometimes added to "sweeten" the soundtrack, as when the studio audience missed some close-up comedy because of cameras or microphones in their way. The television viewers learned to live without Mary Livingstone, who was afflicted by a striking case of stage fright. Livingstone appeared rarely if at all on the television show. In fact, for the last few years of the radio show, she pre-recorded her lines and Jack and Mary's daughter, Joan, stood in for the live taping, with Mary's lines later edited into the tape replacing Joan's before broadcast.
    On March 28, 1954, Benny co-hosted General Foods 25th Anniversary Show: A Salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein with Groucho Marx and Mary Martin.
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  • 1953
    Age 59
    Benny was able to attract guests who rarely, if ever, appeared on television. In 1953, both Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart made their television debuts on Benny's program.
    More Details Hide Details One guest star on the Jack Benny show was Rod Serling who starred in a spoof of The Twilight Zone in which Benny goes to his own house.. and finds that no one knows who he is! Canadian singer Gisele MacKenzie, who toured with Benny in the early 1950s, guest starred seven times on The Jack Benny Program.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details From the fall of 1954 to 1960, it appeared every other week, and from 1960 to 1965 it was seen weekly.
  • 1949
    Age 55
    After making his television debut in 1949 on local Los Angeles station KTTV, then a CBS affiliate, the network television version of The Jack Benny Program ran from October 28, 1950, to 1965, all but the last season on CBS.
    More Details Hide Details Initially scheduled as a series of five "specials" during the 1950–1951 season, the show appeared every six weeks for the 1951–1952 season, every four weeks for the 1952–1953 season and every three weeks in 1953–1954.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details NBC, with its smash Sunday night lineup now broken up, offered lucrative new deals to two of those Sunday night hits, The Fred Allen Show and The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show. Benny's bandleader and his singing actress wife now starred in their own hit sitcom, meaning Harris was featured on shows for two different networks. Benny and Sarnoff eventually met several years later and became good friends. Benny later observed that if he'd had this kind of relationship with Sarnoff earlier, when he was Sarnoff's number-one radio star, he never would have left NBC.
  • 1948
    Age 54
    In the summer of 1948, he successfully negotiated a deal with Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, buying their holding company, which owned the Amos 'n' Andy radio show (and the rights to those characters), moving the entire "package" from NBC to CBS that fall: he then learned that NBC balked at buying a "Jack Benny" package deal when "Jack Benny" was not the star's real name.
    More Details Hide Details Paley reached out to Benny and offered him a deal that would allow that package-buy. But Paley, according to CBS historian Robert Metz, also learned that Benny chafed under NBC's almost indifferent attitude toward the talent that attracted the listeners. NBC, under the leadership of David Sarnoff, seemed at the time to think that listeners were listening to NBC because of NBC itself. To Paley, according to Metz, that was foolish thinking at best: Paley believed listeners were listening because of the talent, not because of which platform hosted them. When Paley said as much to Benny, the comedian agreed. Because Paley took a personal interest in the Benny negotiations, as opposed to Sarnoff, who had never met his top-rated star, Benny was convinced to make the jump. He convinced a number of his fellow NBC performers (notably Burns and Allen, Edgar Bergen, Red Skelton and Kate Smith) to join him.
    According to Benny himself, Mary Livingstone got the biggest laugh he ever heard on the show, on the April 25, 1948, broadcast.
    More Details Hide Details The punchline was the result of the following exchange between Don Wilson and noted opera singer Dorothy Kirsten: According to Benny, the huge laugh resulted from the long buildup, and the audience's knowledge that Benny, with his pompous persona, would have to break into the conversation at some point. A nearly identical exchange occurred over a year earlier, among renowned violinist Isaac Stern, actor Ronald Colman, Jack Benny, and Mary Livingstone. 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. The resulting laughter lasted some 18 seconds, after which Benny retorted, "Mary, that's no way to talk to Mr. Stern." Later in life, while performing as a stand-up comedian in Las Vegas, Benny had just begun to tell an old joke about the salesman, the farmer, and the farmer's daughter: "So the salesman and the farmer's daughter come to the front door, and the farmer opens the door." At this point, Sammy Davis, Jr. walks onstage behind Jack, the audience screams, and Davis proceeds to speak and sing and dance for about 25 minutes while Benny continues to stand at center stage, quietly watching the spectacle. When Davis finally walks offstage and the audience's applause dies down, Benny continues to watch Davis offstage for a few moments, then, as the audience is finally quiet, continues: "...
    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).
    More Details Hide Details After asking for a match to light a cigarette, the mugger demands, "Don't make a move, this is a stickup. Now, come on. Your money or your life." Benny paused, and the studio audience—knowing his skinflint character—laughed. The robber then repeated his demand: "Look, bud! I said your money or your life!" Benny snapped back, without a break, "I'm thinking it over!" This time, the audience laughed louder and longer than they had during the pause. The punchline came to Benny staff writers John Tackaberry and Milt Josefsberg almost by accident. Writer George Balzer described the scene to author Jordan R. Young, for The Laugh Crafters, a 1999 book of interviews with veteran radio and television comedy writers: The actual length of the laugh the joke got was five seconds when originally delivered and seven seconds when the gag was reprised on a follow-up show. In fact, the joke is probably not so memorable for the length of the laugh it provoked, but because it became the definitive "Jack Benny joke"—the joke that best illustrated Benny's "stingy man" persona. The punchline—"I'm thinking it over!"—would not have worked with any other comedian than Benny.
  • FORTIES
  • 1944
    Age 50
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Benny was notable for employing a small group of writers, most of whom stayed with him for many years. This was in contrast to successful radio or television comedians, such as Bob Hope, who would change writers frequently. One of Benny's writers, George Balzer, noted: "One of the nice things about writing for Jack Benny was that he never denied your existence. On the contrary, he publicized it – not just in conversations, but in interviews and on the air.” Historical accounts (like those by longtime Benny writer Milt Josefsberg) indicate that Benny's role was essentially as head writer and director of his radio programs, though he was not credited in either capacity. In contrast to Fred Allen, who initially wrote his own radio scripts (and extensively rewrote scripts produced in later years by a writing staff), Jack Benny was often described by his writers as a consummate comedy editor rather than a writer per se. George Burns described Benny as "the greatest editor of material in the business. He's got the knack of cutting out all the weak slush and keeping in only the strong, punchy lines."
  • 1942
    Age 48
    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.
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  • 1940
    Age 46
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The failure of one Benny vehicle, The Horn Blows at Midnight, became a running gag on his radio and television programs, although contemporary viewers may not find the film as disappointing as the jokes suggest. Benny may have had an unbilled cameo role in Casablanca, claimed by a contemporary newspaper article and advertisement and reportedly in the Casablanca press book. When asked in his column "Movie Answer Man", movie critic Roger Ebert first replied, "It looks something like him. That's all I can say." He wrote in a later column, "I think you're right." Benny also was caricatured in several Warner Brothers cartoons including Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur (1939, as Casper the Caveman), I Love to Singa, Slap Happy Pappy, and Goofy Groceries (1936, 1940, and 1941 respectively, as Jack Bunny), Malibu Beach Party (1940, as himself), and The Mouse that Jack Built (1959). The last of these is probably the most memorable: Robert McKimson engaged Benny and his actual cast (Mary Livingstone, Eddie Anderson, and Don Wilson) to do the voices for the mouse versions of their characters, with Mel Blanc—the usual Warner Brothers cartoon voicemeister—reprising his old vocal turn as the always-aging Maxwell, always a phat-phat-bang! away from collapse. In the cartoon, Benny and Livingstone agree to spend their anniversary at the Kit-Kat Club, which they discover the hard way is inside the mouth of a live cat.
  • 1936
    Age 42
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Burns, Allen and Orson Welles guest hosted several episodes in March and April 1943 when Benny was ill with pneumonia, while Ronald Colman and his wife Benita Hume appeared often in the 1940s as Benny's long-suffering neighbors. On the broadcast of January 8, 1950, journalist Drew Pearson was the subject of a joke gone wrong. Announcer Don Wilson was supposed to say he heard that Jack bought a new suit on Drew Pearson, but said the name wrong; Don said "Drear Pewson". Later in the show, comedic actor Frank Nelson was asked by Benny if he was the doorman. Changing the words by suggestion of the writers, Nelson said, "Well, who do you think I am, Drear Pewson?" The audience laughed for almost 30 seconds. In the early days of radio and in the early television era, airtime was owned by the sponsor, and Benny incorporated the commercials into the body of the show. Sometimes the sponsors were the butt of jokes, though Benny did not use this device as frequently as his friend and "rival" Fred Allen did then, or as cast member Phil Harris later did on his successful radio sitcom. Nevertheless, for years, Benny insisted in contract negotiations that his writers pen the sponsor's commercial in the middle of the program (leaving the sponsor to provide the opening and closing spots) and the resulting ads were cleverly and wittily worked into the storyline of the show.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1934
    Age 40
    In October, 1934, General Foods, the makers of Jell-O and Grape-Nuts, became the sponsor strongly identified with Benny for 10 years. American Tobacco's Lucky Strike was his longest-lasting radio sponsor, from October 1944 through to the end of his original radio series. The show switched networks to CBS on January 2, 1949, as part of CBS president William S. Paley's notorious "raid" of NBC talent in 1948–49.
    More Details Hide Details It stayed there for the remainder of its radio run, ending on May 22, 1955. CBS aired repeat episodes from 1956 to 1958 as The Best of Benny. Benny's comic persona changed over the course of his career. At some point he developed a miserly persona. This stage character was everything that Jack Benny was not: cheap, petty, vain and self-congratulatory. His comic rendering of these traits was the linchpin to the success of his show. Benny set himself up as comedic foil, allowing his supporting characters to draw laughs at the expense of his own flaws. With his humanism and vulnerability in an era where few male characters were allowed such character traits, Benny made what could have been an unlikable everyman character. Benny said: "I don't care who gets the laughs on my show, as long as the show is funny." Benny felt he got the credit or blame either way, not the actor saying the lines, so there was emphasis on the comedic bottom line. This attitude reached its apogee in a broadcast structured as a Hollywood bus tour of the stars' homes. Each "stop" on the tour was at a house belonging to one of the show's supporting cast, who would then have a scene which included jokes about the absent Benny. Not until the final moments of the program did the bus arrive at Jack Benny's house, at which point the listening audience heard Benny's only line of the episode: "Driver, here's where I get off."
    Arriving at NBC on March 17, Benny did The Chevrolet Program until April 1, 1934.
    More Details Hide Details He continued with sponsor General Tire through the end of the season.
  • 1933
    Age 39
    With Ted Weems leading the band, Benny stayed on CBS until January 26, 1933.
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  • 1932
    Age 38
    With Canada Dry ginger ale as a sponsor, Benny came to radio on The Canada Dry Program, on May 2, 1932, on the NBC Blue Network and continuing for six months until October 26, moving to CBS on October 30.
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    Benny's long radio career began on April 6, 1932, when the NBC Commercial Program Department auditioned him for the N.W. Ayer agency and their client, Canada Dry, after which Bertha Brainard, head of the division, said, "We think Mr. Benny is excellent for radio and, while the audition was unassisted as far as orchestra was concerned, we believe he would make a great bet for an air program."
    More Details Hide Details Recalling the experience in 1956, Benny said Ed Sullivan had invited him to guest on his program (1932), and "the agency for Canada Dry ginger ale heard me and offered me a job."
    Benny had been a minor vaudeville performer before becoming 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.
    More Details Hide Details It was among the most highly rated programs during its run.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details There will be a slight pause while you say, 'Who cares?' "
  • 1929
    Age 35
    Benny signed a five-year contract with MGM, where his first role was in The Hollywood Revue of 1929.
    More Details Hide Details The next movie, Chasing Rainbows, did not do well, and after several months Benny was released from his contract and returned to Broadway in Earl Carroll's Vanities. At first dubious about the viability of radio, Benny grew eager to break into the new medium.
    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.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1921
    Age 27
    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.
    More Details Hide Details She was working in the hosiery section of the Hollywood Boulevard branch of the May Company, where Benny courted her. Called on to fill in for the "dumb girl" part in a Benny routine, Sadie proved to be a natural comedian. Adopting the stage name Mary Livingstone, Sadie collaborated with Benny throughout most of his career. They later adopted a daughter, Joan.
  • 1917
    Age 23
    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.
    More Details Hide Details One evening, his violin performance was booed by the troops, so with prompting from fellow sailor and actor Pat O'Brien, he ad-libbed his way out of the jam and left them laughing. He received more comedy spots in the revues and did well, earning a reputation as a comedian and musician. Shortly after the war, Benny developed a one-man act, "Ben K. Benny: Fiddle Funology". He then received legal pressure from Ben Bernie, a patter-and-fiddle performer, regarding his name, so he adopted the sailor's nickname Jack. By 1921, the fiddle was more of a prop, and the low-key comedy took over. Benny had some romantic encounters, including one with dancer Mary Kelly, whose devoutly Catholic family forced her to turn down his proposal because he was Jewish. Benny was introduced to Kelly by Gracie Allen. Some years after their split, Kelly resurfaced as a dowdy fat girl and Jack gave her a part in an act of three girls: one homely, one fat and one who couldn't sing.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1911
    Age 17
    In 1911, Benny was playing in the same theater as the young Marx Brothers.
    More Details Hide Details Minnie, their mother, enjoyed Benny's violin playing and invited him to accompany her boys in their act. Benny's parents refused to let their son go on the road at 17, but it was the beginning of his long friendship with the Marx Brothers, especially Zeppo Marx. The next year, Benny formed a vaudeville musical duo with pianist Cora Salisbury, a buxom 45-year-old widow who needed a partner for her act. This provoked famous violinist Jan Kubelik, who feared that the young vaudevillian with a similar name would damage his reputation. Under legal pressure, Benjamin Kubelsky agreed to change his name to Ben K. Benny, sometimes spelled Bennie. When Salisbury left the act, Benny found a new pianist, Lyman Woods, and renamed the act "From Grand Opera to Ragtime". They worked together for five years and slowly integrated comedy elements to the show. They reached the Palace Theater, the "Mecca of Vaudeville", and did not do well.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1894
    Age 0
    Born on February 14, 1894.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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