Gracie Allen

Gracie Allen

"The Burns & Allen Show" (on CBS and NBC from 1934 to 1950) was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1994.

George Burns called Gracie "Googie", while she called him "Natty".

Accidentally spilled a pot of boiling water on her arm as a child, which left a bad scar she kept concealed for the rest of her life (her one big wish was to wear a strapless evening gown and no gloves, just once).

Although she was in love with another man when they first met, George Burns carried a ring in his pocket until she finally agreed to marry him.

Attending secretarial school, Gracie was invited by her roommate to Union Hill, NJ, to see if she was interested in working with either member of an act that was splitting up. The act was George Burns and Billy Lorraine, and she chose George.

Began having mild heart attacks in the late '50s, which continued until her death in 1964.

Declined only one photo session request in her career, when she was asked to pose outside a mental hospital; husband George Burns compared this to having Mae West pose outside a brothel.

During her run on "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" (1950), she stood only 5 feet tall and weighed a dainty, petite 100 pounds.

Graduated from Star of the Sea School for Girls [now co-ed] in San Francisco; graduation ceremony was held in the Columbia Theatre [now American Conservatory Theatre] on 19 June 1914.

Had a driver's license, issued under her married name, Grace Burns. Was once pulled over by a policeman, who thought the license was fake because it didn't give her last name as Allen.

Had a fear of water and drowning; took swimming lessons secretly to be able to teach her children.

Had one blue eye and one green.

Her father left the family - her, her mother, her three sisters and one brother when she was 5 years old, and she never spoke of him again.

Her idol and first childhood crush was Charles Chaplin.

In 1922 she and George Burns made their first performance at the Hill Street Theatre in Newark, NJ, where they were paid $5 per day. George saw that the audience not only found Gracie's character funny but they fell in love with her, and he did, too. He immediately changed the act to give her all the funny lines and played her straight man. They became a hit.

In 1949 she missed a radio show when she had a migraine so bad she couldn't get out of bed. She was replaced by Jane Wyman, who had won the Best Actress Oscar earlier that year. It turned out to be the only performance she missed in over 35 years of performing with George Burns.

In the early 1940s, during the height of their popularity, George Burns had a brief extra-marital affair. He felt so guilty, he bought her an extravagant silver centerpiece for the dining room table, but since neither brought up the affair even once, he assumed she knew nothing about it. Years later, when Gracie had a friend over for coffee, George overheard her say, "You know, I wish George would cheat on me again. I'd really like a new centerpiece for the table".

Interred along with husband George Burns at Forest Lawn (Glendale), Glendale, CA, in the Freedom Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Heritage.

Most people did not know when she was born, as her birth certificate was lost during the California earthquake in 1906, and she was usually evasive about her age. Her family was even forced to guess her birth date for her death certificate, settling on 1902. Her true age would not be revealed until 1972, when the 1900 Census became public, and gave her actual birth year as 1895.

Pictured with husband George Burns on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp, issued 11 August 2009, in the Early TV Memories issue honoring "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" (1950).