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Author Composer Writer Performer : Jack Benny

Famous Person Best Love Rating :

Famous Person: Birth Name : Benjamin Kubelsky / Stage Name : Jack Benny

Famous For: Comedian and Actor in Vaudeville, Film, Radio and Television

Movie - Television Titles:

Annie and the Hoods (1974) (TV) 
The Man (1972) .... Cameo appearance
The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians (1970) (TV) (voice) 
A Guide for the Married Man (1967) .... Technical Adviser (Ollie 'Sweet Lips')
"The London Palladium Show" 
    - Episode dated 14 May 1967 (1967) TV Episode 
All About People (1967) .... Narrator
"The Jack Benny Program" 
... aka The Jack Benny Show 
    - Smothers Brothers Show (1965) TV Episode .... Jack Benny
    - Jack Has Dog Trouble (1965) TV Episode .... Jack Benny
    - Jack Appears on a Panel Show (1965) TV Episode .... Jack Benny
    - Dennis Opens a Bank Account (1965) TV Episode .... Jack Benny
    - Jack's Navy Buddy Returns (1965) TV Episode .... Jack Benny
      (239 more)
"The Lucy Show" 
    - Lucy and the Plumber (1964) TV Episode 
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) (uncredited) .... Man in car in desert
... aka It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (USA: promotional title) 
    - A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Game (1962) TV Episode .... Jack Bowen
The Slowest Gun in the West (1960) (TV) .... Chicken Finsterwald
The Mouse That Jack Built (1959) (voice) .... Jack
"Make Room for Daddy" 
... aka The Danny Thomas Show (USA: new title) 
    - Jack Benny Takes Danny's Job (1958) TV Episode 
    - Lose Me in Las Vegas (1957) TV Episode 
"The George Burns Show" 
    - Jack Benny Comes Over (1958) TV Episode .... Jack Benny
"Shower of Stars" 
... aka Chrysler Shower of Stars 
    - Episode #4.7 (1958) TV Episode 
    - Episode #4.6 (1958) TV Episode 
    - Episode #4.4 (1958) TV Episode 
    - Skits & Sketches (1957) TV Episode 
    - Cloak and Dagger (1957) TV Episode 
      (6 more)
"General Electric Theater" 
... aka G.E. Theater (USA: informal short title) 
    - The Fenton Touch (1957) TV Episode .... Harold Fenton
    - The Honest Man (1956) TV Episode .... Sheldon Weeks
    - The Face Is Familiar (1954) TV Episode .... Tom Jones
    - The Marriage Fix (1953) TV Episode .... Tom Jones
"The Jackie Gleason Show" 
    - The Honeymooners: Principle of the Thing (1955) TV Episode .... Landlord
The Great Lover (1949) (uncredited) .... Cameo appearance
The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945) .... Athanael
The Meanest Man in the World (1943) .... Richard Clark
George Washington Slept Here (1942) .... Bill Fuller
To Be or Not to Be (1942) .... Joseph Tura
Charley's Aunt (1941) .... Babbs Babberley
... aka Charley's American Aunt (UK) 
Love Thy Neighbor (1940) .... Jack Benny
Buck Benny Rides Again (1940) .... Jack Benny
Man About Town (1939) .... Bob Temple
Artists and Models Abroad (1938) .... Buck Boswell
... aka Stranded in Paris (UK) 
Artists & Models (1937) .... Mac Brewster
College Holiday (1936) .... J. Davis Bowster
The Big Broadcast of 1937 (1936) .... Jack Carson
It's in the Air (1935) .... Calvin Churchill
Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935) .... Bert Keeler
Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round (1934) .... Chad Denby
... aka Keep 'Em Laughing (USA: reissue title) 
Cab Waiting (1931) .... Jack Benny
A Broadway Romeo (1931) .... Jack Benny
The Medicine Man (1930) .... Dr. John Harvey
Lord Byron of Broadway (1930) (uncredited) .... Voice on Radio
... aka What Price Melody? 
The Rounder (1930) .... Mr. Bartlett
Chasing Rainbows (1930) .... Eddie
... aka Road Show

Authors Description: Jack Benny was among the most beloved American entertainers of the 20th century. He brought a relationship-oriented, humorously vain persona honed in vaudeville, radio, and film to television in 1950, starring in his own television series from that year until 1965. The comedian grew up in Waukegan and went on the vaudeville stage in his early teens playing the violin. The instrument quickly turned into a mere prop, and his lack of musicianship became one of the staples of his act. Benny's first major success was on the radio. He starred in a regular radio program from 1932 to 1955, establishing the format and personality he would transfer almost intact to television. Most of his films capitalized on his radio fame (e.g., The Big Broadcast of 1937), although a couple of pictures, Charley's Aunt (1941) and To Be or Not to Be (1942) showed that he could play more than one character. Benny's radio program spent most of its run on NBC. In 1948, the entertainer, who had just signed a deal with the Music Corporation of American (MCA) that allowed him to form a company to produce the program and thereby make more money on it, was lured to CBS, where he stayed through the remainder of his radio career and most of his television years. His television program evolved slowly. Benny made only four television shows in his first season. By 1954-55, he was up to 20, and by 1960-61, 39. The format of The Jack Benny Show was flexible. Although each week's episode usually had a theme or starting premise, the actual playing out of that premise often devolved into a loose collection of skits. Benny played a fictional version of himself, Jack Benny the television star, and the program often revolved around preparation for the next week's show--involving interactions between Benny and a regular stable of characters that included the program's announcer, Don Wilson, and its resident crooner, Dennis Day. Until her retirement in 1958, Benny's wife, Mary Livingstone, portrayed what her husband termed in his memoirs "a kind of heckler-secretary," a wise-cracking friend of the family and the television program. The main point of these interactions was to show off Benny's onscreen character. The Jack Benny with whom viewers were familiar was a cheap, vain, insecure, untalented braggart who would never willingly enter his fifth decade. Despite his conceit and braggadocio, however, Jack Benny's video persona was uniquely endearing and even in many ways admirable. He possessed a vulnerability and a flexibility few male fictional characters have achieved. His myriad shortcomings were mercilessly exposed every week by his supporting cast, yet those characters always forgave him. They knew that "Jack" was never violent and never intentionally cruel--and that he wanted nothing (not even money) so much as love. The interaction between this protagonist and his fellow cast members turned the Jack Benny Show into a forum for human absurdity and human affection. "Human" is a key word, for the Benny persona defied sub-categorization. Benny had shed his Jewish identity along with his Jewish name on his way from vaudeville to radio. The character he and his writers sustained on the airwaves for four decades had no ethnicity or religion. He had no strongly defined sexuality either, despite his boasts about mythical romantic success with glamorous female movie stars and his occasional brief dates with working-class women. In minimizing his ethnicity and sexuality, the Benny character managed to transcend those categories rather than deny them. Beneath his quickly lifted arrogant facade lurked an American Everyperson. The Jack Benny Show further crossed boundaries by being the only program for decades that consistently portrayed Americans of mixed races living and working side by side. Jack Benny's ever-present butler/valet/nanny, Rochester (portrayed by Eddie Anderson), had first appeared on the Benny radio program as a Pullman porter but had pleased audiences so universally that he moved into Benny's fictional household. Unlike the popular African-American radio characters Amos and Andy, Rochester was portrayed by a Black actor, Eddie Anderson, rather than a white actor in blackface. Rochester's characterization was not devoid of racism. As Benny's employee he was, after all, always in a nominally subservient position. Nevertheless, neither Rochester nor his relationship with his employer was defined or limited by race. Like the other characters on the program, Rochester viewed Benny with slightly condescending affection--and frequently got the better of his employer in arguments that were obviously battles between peers. He was, in fact, the closest thing the Benny character had to either a spouse or a best friend. The complex relationship between the two was typical of the Benny persona and its fictional formula, which relied on character rather than jokes. Benny sustained the persona and the formula, in his regular half-hour program and in a series of one-hour specials, until both wore out in the mid-1960s. He returned to television from time to time thereafter to star in additional specials but never dominated American ratings as he had in the 1950s, when he spent several years in the Neilsen top-20s and garnered Emmy awards year after year.

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