Tuesday, July 04, 2006

10 things you didn't know about Jan Murray

1 Bronx-born Murray Janofsky made his reputation in the Catskills working as a tummeler, Yiddish for "the guy who tries to be funny all day, not just on the stage at night."

2 His first game show was "Songs for Sale," in which aspiring songwriters had their creations performed by professional, but relatively unknown singers, including Rosemary Clooney and Tony Bennett.

3 He created and hosted the popular Fifties TV quiz show, "Treasure Hunt," which was canceled in wake of the scandals that centered on "Twenty One" and "The $64,000 Question."

4 He starred in a short-lived variety show for NBC, "Jan Murray Time," with co-host Tina Louise.

5 He married Pearl Cohen in 1939, but they divorced. He married showgirl Kathleen Mann in 1949. His second wife's nickname was Toni, and his production company, Jantone Productions, was named for the couple.

6 He was fabled for his Passover Seder, where his regular guests over two nights included Sid Caesar, George Burns, Buddy Hackett, Shecky Greene, Jerry Lewis and Jackie Gleason.

7 He shifted to movies in the late 1960s and appeared in a variety of roles, including a Nazi war criminal in "A Man Called Dagger."

8 He substituted for Johnny Carson as host of The Tonight Show.

9 His Jewish faith was central to his life. On high holidays he attended services at not one but three temples. He performed in Israel to raise funds for Hebrew University, and hosted the Chabad Telethon for 18 years.

10 He quit performing at 83, when his worsening asthma threw off his timing.

A tip of the Tabloid Baby hat to Our Man Elli in Israel, who's sitting Shiva for the great Jan Murray, who died Sunday in Beverly Hills.

(Hear Bob Dylan perform at the Chabad Telethon--20 years ago!)

1 comment:

Elli in israel said...

By the way, you notice how the politically correct New York Times - as usual, as always - did not use the word "Jew" or "Jewish" once in the Jan Murray obit? I mean, if you can't use the word Jews when talking about Jan Murray's beginnings in the Borscht belt, then what kind of a news report is it?