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Jack Benny ACTOR
PHOTOS



JACK BENNY BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
 
Jack Benny was an American comedian, vaudeville performer, Radio and TV, movie, and film actor. In the 20th century, this man was regarded as one of the country’s most popular entertainers, and still today many comedy performances find great influence in Benny’s work. He was born as Benjamin Kubelsky on February 14, 1894 in Chicago, Illinois. The performer grew up in Waukegan, Illinois, were he developed a prodigious talent for the violin. His parents encouraged his musical growth, supplying him with a small instrument and expensive lessons. It seemed to pay off, for when he reached fifteen years of age, he was offered a job to play in an orchestra at a local theater. Shortly after getting expelled from high school, Benny joined the vaudeville circuit.

During World War I he joined the Navy, and he often entertained the troops by playing violin or telling jokes. It was while serving that he gained a reputation as both a musician and a comedian. After protecting the shores around Lake Michigan, Benny returned to the stage with a comedy act. Throughout the twenties, the performer got a chance to perfect his comic skills, stage presence, and theatrical personality. The result was a style all his own. Slowly he built up his popularity, and eventually topped out as one of the headliners.

In 1929 Irving Thalberg signed the comic up for a five year contract at MGM. In his first film, “The Hollywood Revue” (1929), Benny played the Master of Ceremonies, and helped the movie receive a nomination for the Best Picture Academy Award. In his subsequent feature, the musical comedy “Chasing Rainbows” (1930), he portrayed a theater director. The new film actor got his first starring role in “The Medicine Man” (1930) shortly following. However, his pictures were poorly received, and in 1932 he found his real calling: radio.

While on air he gained a large fan following – they loved his haughty and miserly persona, who promised to always be only thirty nine years old and could not play the violin. His timing was also magnificent. Benny knew just when to switch to silence – leaving the crowd hysterically laughing at every second that ticked by without dialogue. “The Jack Benny Program” was so popular that it lasted an astonishing twenty three years on the radio.

In the meantime, he would not give up on motion pictures, and continued to appear in films until 1967. He played somewhat funny romantic leads in “It’s in the Air” (1935), “Artists and Models” (1936), and “Artists and Models Abroad” (1936). Benny’s most notable pictures came in the forties, though, “Charley’s Aunt” (1941), “To Be or Not to Be” (1942), and “George Washington Slept Here” (1942). Most of his efforts, however, proved to be rather unsuccessful because of the casting he was given; he quite often played his conceited penny-pinching character onscreen, an act which proved to fare much better over the airwaves. Some of the pictures employing his on-air persona actually did find a bit of esteem – like “Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round” (1934), “Man About Town” (1939), and “Buck Benny Rides Again” (1940). But the actor found also horrible failures alongside these moderate successes, including “Love Thy Neighbor” (1940) and “The Horn Blows at Midnight” (1945).

In 1949 the performer produced his first feature, the Dorothy Lamour vehicle “The Lucky Stiff”. He produced only two more projects after: four episodes of the variety show “The Gisele MacKenzie Show” (1957) and one episode of his own series, “The Jack Benny Program” (1965).

During the fifties he added another medium to his ever expanding repertoire of performing feats: television. Benny made a great number of appearance on a number of various TV series, not limited to “G.E. True Theater” (1953-57), “Shower of Stars” (1955-58), “The Lucy Show” (1964-67), and his very own extremely successful “The Jack Benny Program” (1950-65), which ran for an astounding fifteen years. Television proved to also be much more lucrative for the actor than film. He did act in one additional feature after his series ended, “A Guide for the Married Man” (1967). Benny also performed on a few more television series and movies, his final onscreen role being a cameo appearance for the TV movie “The Man” (1972).

The actor was planning on starring in Neil Simon’s film “The Sunshine Boys” (1975), when his health began to deteriorate. He passed away before the filming could be started, on December 26, 1974, from recently discovered, inoperable pancreatic cancer. For all of his hard work and dedication to an assortment of artistic efforts, he won a Golden Globe, a couple of Emmys, and three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – one for radio, one for television, and one for motion pictures.
 
 
Filmography
 
1972   The Man 
1971   The Bob Hope Show 
1971   Kraft Music Hall Presents: The Des O'Connor Show 
1970   Swing Out, Sweet Land 
1970   The Kraft Music Hall 
1967   A Guide for the Married Man 
1967   All About People 
1965   The Jack Benny Program
1964   The Lucy Show
1963   It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World 
1962   Checkmate 
1960   The Slowest Gun in the West 
1960   Who Was That Lady? 
1959   The Mouse That Jack Built 
1958   The George Burns Show 
1958   Bachelor Father 
1957   The Danny Thomas Show 
1957   The Gisele MacKenzie Show
1955   Shower of Stars
1955   The Jackie Gleason Show 
1955   Four Star Playhouse
1953   G.E. True Theater
1953   Omnibus       
1952   The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
1950   The Jack Benny Program
1949   The Lucky Stiff 
1945   The Horn Blows at Midnight 
1944   Hollywood Canteen 
1943   The Meanest Man in the World 
1942   George Washington Slept Here 
1942   To Be or Not to Be 
1941   Charley's Aunt 
1940   Love Thy Neighbor 
1940   Buck Benny Rides Again 
1939   Man About Town 
1938   Artists and Models Abroad 
1937   Artists & Models 
1936   College Holiday 
1936   The Big Broadcast of 1937 
1935   It's in the Air 
1935   Broadway Melody of 1936 
1934   Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round 
1931   Taxi Tangle 
1931   Cab Waiting 
1931   A Broadway Romeo 
1930   The Medicine Man 
1930   Lord Byron of Broadway 
1930   The Rounder 
1930   Chasing Rainbows 
1929   The Hollywood Revue





Matinee Classics - The Jack Benny Show starring Jack Benny, Don Wilson, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Mary Livingstone and Mel Blanc
Matinee Classics - Hotpoint Holiday Hour Radio Show starring Jack Benny, Gene Kelly, Rosalind Russell, Dorothy McGuire, Gregory Peck and Charles Boyer
Matinee Classics - Eddie Anderson, Dennis Day, Phil Harris, Mary Livingstone, Jack Benny, Don Wilson, and Mel Blanc
Matinee Classics - Jack Benny on NBC
Matinee Classics - Eddie Anderson, Dennis Day, Phil Harris, Mary Livingstone, Jack Benny, Don Wilson, and Mel Blanc
Matinee Classics - The Horn Blows at Midnight starring Jack Benny, Alexis Smith, Dolores Moran, Allyn Joslyn, Reginald Gardiner, Guy Kibbee, John Alexander, Franklin Pangborn, Margaret Dumont, Robert Blake, Ethel Griffies, Paul Harvey, Mike Mazurki and Truman Bradley
Matinee Classics - The Horn Blows at Midnight starring Jack Benny, Alexis Smith, Dolores Moran, Allyn Joslyn, Reginald Gardiner, Guy Kibbee, John Alexander, Franklin Pangborn, Margaret Dumont, Robert Blake, Ethel Griffies, Paul Harvey, Mike Mazurki and Truman Bradley
Matinee Classics - Ford Theater Radio Show
Matinee Classics - Love Thy Neighbor starring Jack Benny, Fred Allen, Mary Martin, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Verree Teasdale, Virginia Dale, Theresa Harris, Richard Denning, Barnett Parker, Jack Carson, Chester Clute, Mary Kelley and Russell Hicks
Matinee Classics - The Bing Crosby Show starring Bing Crosby, Jack Benny and Sheree North


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