Nick Charles (wheelerwoolsey) wrote in jack_benny,

Who's Who of the Jack Benny Program



Facts on Jack Benny and his cast

Jack Benny and his cast

Above: The Jack Benny Cast circa 1948. From left, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Dennis Day, Phil Harris, Mary Livingstone, Jack, Don Wilson and Mel Blanc. Presumably the cast is listening to Fred Allen in this publicity shot.


Thought it would be fun to put together a list of some information on the many men and women who appeared as regulars on Jack's radio and TV shows over the years....


THE CAST:


Jack Benny

JACK BENNY
Real name: Benjamin Kubelsky
Born: February 14, 1894, Chicago, Illinois
Died: December 26, 1974
Married: Sadye Marks (later renamed Mary Livingstone) on January 14, 1927
Children: One daughter, Joan Naomi (b. 1934)
Radio show history: The Jack Benny show on radio existed from 1932 to 1955 under various names and sponsorships.
- The Canada Dry Ginger Ale Program (5/2/32--1/26/33)
- The Chevrolet Program (3/3/33--4/1/34)
- The General Tire Program (4/6/34--9/28/34)
- The Jello Program (10/14/34--5/31/42)
- The Grape Nuts Program (1942-1944)
- The Lucky Strike Program (10/1/44--5/22/55)
TV show history: Jack's TV programs began airing on October 28, 1950 on an irregular basis. He did not appear on TV on a weekly basis until 1959. His last original TV show aired on April 16, 1965. He then did several TV specials every year until his death.


Mary Livingstone

MARY LIVINGSTONE
Real name: Sadye Marks
Born: June 23, 1906
Died June 30, 1983
First radio appearance: July 27, 1932
Radio show cast member: 1932-1955
TV show cast member: 1950-1959
Personality on air: sharp-tongued, sarcastic




Rest of cast listed alphabetically


Mr. Kitzel

ARTIE AUERBACH
Born: May 17, 1903
Died: October 3, 1957
First radio appearance: January 6, 1946
Radio show cast member: 1946-1955
Role on show: Played Mr. Kitzel




Rochester

EDDIE "ROCHESTER" ANDERSON
Born: September 18, 1905
Died: February 28, 1977
First radio appearance: March 28, 1937
Radio show cast member: 1937-1955
TV show cast member: 1950-1965
Personality on air: Jack's valet; sharp-witted, often outsmarting Benny




Kenny Baker

KENNY BAKER
Born: September 30, 1912
Died: August 10, 1985
First radio appearance: November 3, 1935
Radio show cast member: 1935-1939
Personality on air: Singer; dim-witted, naive.
Later left show business to become a Christian Science practitioner.



MIKE BARTLETT
First radio appearance: September 29, 1935
Radio show cast member: 1935
Role on show: Tenor
Only appeared with Jack from September 29 to October 27, 1935. Replaced by Kenny Baker.




ED BELOIN
Born: About 1910
Died: May 26, 1992
Role on show: Occasionally played Mr. Billingsley, Jack's slightly insane boarder, in the early 1940s. Served as one of the Benny writers for many years.




SARA BERNER
Born: January 12, 1912
Died: December 19, 1969
Role on show: Often played one of Jack's telephone operators as well as various other roles.




DON BESTOR
Born: September 23, 1889
Died: January 13, 1970
Radio show cast member: 1934-1935
Role on show: Bandleader.
Inspired Jack's tag-line "Play Don!" during the mid-30s. You can hear Groucho Marx make reference to that line in the movie "A Night at the Opera."



FRANK BLACK
First radio appearance: March 3, 1933
Radio show cast member: 1933-1934
Role on show: Bandleader



Mel Blanc

MEL BLANC
Born: May 30, 1908
Died: July 10, 1989
First radio appearance: March 12, 1939
Radio show cast member: 1939-1955
TV show cast member: 1950-1965
Played many parts, from Jack's polar bear Carmichael and his parrot Polly on radio, to Professor LeBlanc, to doing the sound effects for Jack's Maxwell.




HOWARD CLANEY
First radio appearance: March 3, 1933
Radio show cast member: 1933
Role on show: Announcer
Only served as announcer on the Chevrolet Program from March 3 to April 14, 1933.



Bob Crosby

BOB CROSBY
Born: August 25, 1913
Died: March 9, 1993
First radio appearance: September 14, 1952
Radio show cast member: 1952-1955
Occasional TV appearances with Jack, early 1950s
Role on show: Bandleader. Took Phil Harris' place.
Brother of Bing Crosby



Dennis Day

DENNIS DAY
Born: May 21, 1916
Died: June 22, 1988
First radio appearance: October 8, 1939
Radio show cast member: 1939-1955
TV show cast member: 1950-1965
Personality on show: Naive, innocent, slow-witted tenor.
Had his own radio and TV shows for a time.



VERNA FELTON
Born: July 20, 1890
Died: December 14, 1966
Radio show cast member: 1939-1955
Role on show: Played Dennis Day's overbearing mother




SANDRA GOULD
Born: July 23, 1926
Died: July 20, 1999
Role on show: Various parts, most often as one of Jack's telephone operators
Later played Mrs. Kravitz on "Bewitched."




JOHNNY GREEN
Born: October 10, 1908
Died: May 15, 1989
First radio appearance: September 29, 1935
Radio show cast member: 1935-1936
Role on show: Bandleader.


Phil Harris

PHIL HARRIS
Real name: Wonga Harris
Born: June 24, 1904
Died: August 11, 1995
Marriages: Marcia Ralston (1927-41), Alice Faye (1941-95)
First radio appearance: October 4, 1936
Radio show cast member: 1936-1952
Personality on air: Hard-drinking, fast-living, uneducated, obnoxious. Jack's bandleader.
Had his own radio show with wife Alice Faye from 1946-1954.



ALOIS HAVRILLA
Born: July 6, 1891
Died: December 7, 1952
First radio appearance: April 21, 1933
Radio show cast member: 1933-1934
Role on show: Announcer




SAM HEARN
Born: March 5, 1888
Died: October 28, 1964
First radio appearance: August 3, 1934
Role on show: Played "Schlepperman"




RICHARD LANE
Born: May 28, 1899
Died: September 5, 1982
First radio appearance: September 30, 1945
Role on show: Occasionally played Steve Bradley, Jack's publicity agent





SHELDON LEONARD
Born: February 22, 1907
Died: January 11, 1997
Role on show: Occasional appearances as the racetrack tout who would come up to Jack and say "Hey bud....come here a minute..."





GEORGE OLSEN
Born: March 18, 1893
Died: March 18, 1971
Radio show cast member: 1932
Role on show: Jack's first bandleader on the Canada Dry Program.
Married to singer Ethel Shutta.




Frank Parker

FRANK PARKER
Radio show cast member: 1933-1935
Role on show: Singer



ETHEL SHUTTA
Born: December 1, 1896
Died: February 5, 1976
Radio show cast member: 1932
Role on show: Jack's first singer.
Married to bandleader George Olsen.



LARRY STEVENS
Born: 1923
Died: April 5, 2000
First radio appearance: November 5, 1944
Radio show cast member: 1944-1946
Role on show: Tenor during Dennis Day's years in the service.



TED WEEMS
Born: September 26, 1901
Died: May 6, 1963
First radio appearance: October 30, 1932
Radio show cast member: 1932-1933
Role on show: Bandleader. Succeeded George Olsen.




Don Wilson

DON WILSON
Born: September 1, 1900
Died: April 25, 1982
First radio appearance: April 6, 1934
Radio show cast member: 1934-1955
TV show cast member: 1950-1965
Married 4 times
Personality on air: Good-natured, rotund commercial announcer; often butt of fat jokes by Jack.



EDIT: Mel Blanc picture added.

Tags: biographical information, photos
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic
  • 4 comments