Jack Benny

Jack Benny

1933-34: Star of NBC Radio's "The Chevrolet Show".

1934-42: Star of NBC Radio's "The Jell-O Program".

1934: He and his wife adopted a daughter, Joan Naomi.

1934: Star of NBC Radio's "The General Tire Show".

1942-44: Star of NBC Radio's "The Grape Nuts Flakes Program".

7/25/55: His first grandchild, Michael, was born to his daughter Joan and Seth Baker.

A lifelong lover of classical music, he counted the great violinist Isaac Stern among his closest friends and legendary composer/pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff among his greatest fans.

A middle school in his hometown of Waukegan, Illinois, was named after him. The school football team is the "39ers," (in honor of his insistence that he is 39 years old every year).

According to Phyllis Diller's autobiography "Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse", in the late 1960s Broadway producer David Merrick approached Benny with the idea of him playing Dolly Levi in drag in "Hello, Dolly!" opposite George Burns as Horace Vandergelder. The intention was to turn Broadway on its ear and revive flagging interest in the show, which had been running since 1964, originally with Carol Channing as Dolly Levi. This idea never came to fruition. (Diller did appear in the show for 3 months in 1970.).

At his funeral George Burns began the eulogy but broke down. Bob Hope rose to the podium in a shaky voice and honored the comedian by reading, "for a man who was the undisputed master of comedy timing, you'd have to say that this was the only time when Jack Benny's timing was all wrong. He left us much too soon."

At the time of his death, he was scheduled to appear in The Sunshine Boys (1975/I). After he died, the role was taken over by his friend, George Burns.

Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. pg. 42-44. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387

For many years he lived at 1002 North Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills. His neighbors were Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz at 1000 North Roxbury, and Peter Falk and his wife at 1004 North Roxbury.

Had a rose delivered to his wife Mary Livingstone each day after his death until the day she died, almost six years later.

He met his future wife Mary Livingstone while he was appearing at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, and he regularly ate across the street at the lunch counter of the May Company department store, where Mary worked as a lingerie salesgirl.

He once appeared on the TV quiz show "The $64,000 Question" (1955). After answering the first question correctly he quit and took home $1.00. His category was violins.

He sometimes referred cryptically to "my book" in interviews over the years; the manuscript for his autobiography, "Sunday Nights at Seven," wasn't discovered until years after his death.

He was actually a very competent violin player, although not an expert, and performed a series of benefit concerts with an orchestra. He was similarly generous with money in real life. The bad violin playing and the miserliness was just a part of his act.

He was awarded 3 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6650 Hollywood Boulevard, for Radio at 1505 Vine Street, and for Television at 6370 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1989.