Jack Benny

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Jack Benny
Benjamin Kubelsky
BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, U.S.
Actor, comedian, vaudevillian, violinist
EducationWaukegan High School
Known for The Jack Benny Program

Benny, Jack,

1894–1974, American comedian, b. Waukegan, Ill., as Benjamin Kubelsky. His shows on radio (1932–55) and television (1950–65) made famous his miserliness, reproachful silences, and violin. His films include To Be or Not to Be (1942).
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Benny, Jack (1894–1974)

the king of penny pinchers. [Radio: “The Jack Benny Program” in Buxton, 122–123; TV: Terrace, 402]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Benny, Jack (b. Benjamin Kubelsky)

(1894–1974) comedian; born in Chicago, Ill. He dropped out of high school to play violin for vaudeville companies, and discovered his own talent for comedy while appearing in U.S. Navy shows in 1918. Combining his violin with his comic routines, in the 1920s he toured in vaudeville and made a few movies. In 1927 he married Sadye Marks, a clerk in a retail store; she adopted the name Mary Livingstone and became a foil for his comic routines. He went on to become an American institution on radio, first with the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) (1932–48), then with CBS (1948–55), where his own character—a mildly neurotic, self-important tightwad—and a regular supporting cast managed to milk laughs from endless variations on a few themes. He made occasional appearances on television in the early 1950s before settling into the Jack Benny Show (1955–65), where to his famous radio shticks—the pregnant pause and the perfectly timed, "Well!"—he added the slow take and the piqued stare. Over his career he had made a score of movies, the most notable being To Be or Not to Be (1942). After giving up his regular television show, he continued to appear on television specials, and he made a new career playing his violin in benefit concerts with the nation's symphony orchestras. In real life he was said to have the very opposite of his comic persona—generous, modest, and considerate.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
The one compelling irony and ultimate source of humor on which Baraka's version of The Jack Benny Show is based is that the white cast members are so accustomed to their roles as witty superiors that they seem oblivious to Rochester's complete metamorphosis from docile servant to "a renegade behind the mask"--a description the origins of which may be traced to the subject of Baraka's "Poem for Willie Best" (The Dead Lecturer [1964]).
In this sense, The Jack Benny Show features such stock characters as a humble member of the black working class, a miserly white capitalist, a deceptive white seductress, and patronizing white liberals.
In 1954 he signed with CBS as a actor and singer, appearing on "The Jack Benny Show," "The Red Skelton Show," and "You Bet Your Life." He also toured as lead vocalist with Tommy Dorsey and Frankie Carle.
And if more seasons are in the cards, a possibility no one closes the door to, "Frasier" could pull the ultimate feat and match, or even outlast, the longest-running half-hour comedy in the history of television: "The Jack Benny Show," which aired on CBS from 1950 to 1965.
That may have been his producing and directing of "The Jack Benny Show," regarded as one of the best comedy series in early television.
Adams and Eve," starring Ida Lupino and Howard Duff, and "The George Gobel Show." In the late '50s he took over the reins on "The Jack Benny Show" and later served in a similar capacity on "My Three Sons." He directed episodes of "The Farmer's Daughter," "Be-witched," "The Donna Reed Show" and "The Smothers Brothers" as well.