Smothers, (Thomas Bolyn, 3rd) Tommusicians/comedians; born on Governors Island, N.Y. Sons of an army major, they formed a folk singing group, the Casual Quintet, in college. After Tom's satirical asides began to change them from a straight folk group into a comic act, the brothers performed as a duo at New York's Blue Angel in 1961. Discovered by Jack Paar, they appeared on television variety shows in the early 1960s and at Carnegie Hall. The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967–69) was a critical success, but their politically satiric skits were frequently cut by CBS and their show ended when Tom complained publicly. They acted on Broadway in I Love My Wife (1978–79) and in movies, including Terror at Alcatraz (1982), returning to television with the Smothers Brothers Special (1988).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.