DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Jack Benny (aged 80)
-American comedian, vaudeville performer, and radio, television, and film actor
Jack Benny (born Benjamin Kubelsky; February 14, 1894 – December 26, 1974) was an American comedian, vaudevillian, radio, television and film actor, and violinist. Recognized as a leading 20th-century American entertainer, Benny often portrayed his character as a miser, playing his violin badly, and claiming to be 39 years of age, regardless of his actual age.
DEATH: In October 1974, Benny cancelled a performance in Dallas after suffering a dizzy spell, coupled with numbness in his arms. Despite a battery of tests, Benny’s ailment could not be determined. When he complained of stomach pains in early December, a first test showed nothing, but a subsequent one showed he had inoperable pancreatic cancer. Benny went into a coma at home on December 22, 1974.:293–294 While in a coma, he was visited by close friends including George Burns, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson and John Rowles. He died on December 26, 1974 at age 80. At the funeral George Burns, Benny’s best friend for more than fifty years, attempted to deliver a eulogy but broke down shortly after he began and was unable to continue. Bob Hope also delivered a eulogy in which he stated, “For a man who was the undisputed master of comedy timing, you would have to say this is the only time when Jack Benny’s timing was all wrong. He left us much too soon.” He was interred in a crypt at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California. Benny’s will arranged for a single long-stemmed red rose, to be delivered to his widow, Mary Livingstone, every day for the rest of her life. Livingstone died nine years later on June 30, 1983.