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Jack Carter Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (4)  | Trivia (11)  | Personal Quotes (12)  | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Died in Beverly Hills, California, USA  (respiratory failure)
Birth NameJack Chakrin
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Jack Carter was born on June 24, 1922 in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA as Jack Chakrin. He was an actor and director, known for History of the World: Part I (1981), Amazing Stories (1985) and McCloud (1970). He was married to Roxanne Wander, Paula Stewart and Joan Mann. He died on June 28, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California, USA.

Spouse (4)

Roxanne Wander (1992 - 28 June 2015) ( his death)
Roxanne Wander (8 October 1971 - 1977) ( divorced)
Paula Stewart (30 March 1961 - 30 January 1970) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
Joan Mann (27 March 1949 - 1958) ( divorced) ( 2 children)

Trivia (11)

Hosted the very first televised Tony awards.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 97-98. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387.
He was given a shot at hosting "The Texaco Star Theater" in the summer of 1948. Although it's known today as The Milton Berle Show (1948), NBC decided to test emcees throughout that summer. Jack rotated with Henny Youngman, Georgie Price, Harry Richman, Morey Amsterdam, and Peter Donald. After audience testing, Berle landed the permanent title in September, 1948 and the rest is history.
He had two children with his first wife, Joan: son, Chase, and daughter, Wendy. He also had a son, Michael David, with his second wife, Paula.
He died of respiratory failure at his home in Beverly Hills, CA.
Attended New Utrecht High School and served in the entertainment division of the Army Air Corps during WWII.
A topnotch Las Vegas comedian known for his fast, irreverent and funny patter, he was once praised by the late great Fred Allen as "one of the outstanding comedians of the century."
Born Jack Chakrin in New York City on June 24, 1922, Carter grew up in Brooklyn's Brighton Beach, where he developed a flair for impressions and twice appeared on the radio show "Mister Bowes' Amateur Hour," which he won both times. He attended Brooklyn College and Feagin School of Dramatic Art. He served in the US Army Air Forces entertainment division during World War II and later worked briefly as a commercial artist for advertising agencies. He was acting at the Mill Pond Playhouse on New York's Long Island when he began doing stand-up to support himself. His budding career as a comedian coincided with the rise of the fledgling new medium of television, then centered in New York City. He was one of the original rotating hosts of the The Milton Berle Show (1948) on NBC in the summer of 1948 before Milton Berle took over as permanent host that September. The following year Carter turned up on ABC as the host of specials, including "Jack Carter and Company (1949)_ and American Minstrels of 1949 (1949). He next hosted the Cavalcade of Stars (1949) comedy-variety show on the DuMont network and "The Jack Carter Show", a variety hour on NBC, from 1950-51. Although Carter appeared frequently on The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) and The Hollywood Palace (1964) as well as other popular variety programs hosted by such stars as Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Jimmy Durante, Joey Bishop, Johnny Carson, Dinah Shore, Milton Berle, Phyllis Diller, etc., over the next two decades, the top echelon of stardom eluded him. "I'm one of the last entertainers who really works when he's on. I work to win the audience, but maybe I'm wrong," he told the "Los Angeles Times" in 1963. "I see these other guys and they just recite [their acts]. The less you do, the less you offend, of course, and that's what they want on TV. You can phone in your routine." Carter continued performing his comedy act in clubs until 2009 when he and Toni Murray, widow of comic Jan Murray, were hit by a car in Hollywood. Toni Murray died of her injuries two months later. Despite having to rely on a cane and a walker, Carter continued to act occasionally.
In show business circles, the gruff-voiced Carter was known as a comedian's comedian. He had an aggressive, keep-them-laughing stage persona that seemed not to diminish with age. During television's pioneer days in the late 1940s, Carter--the brash stand-up comic who was considered one of America's "rising young comedians"--became a familiar face on TV variety shows into the '50s and '60s. While touring in the comedy showcase "Legends of the Catskills" with fellow comics Freddie Roman and Gabe Kaplan in 2000, Carter warmed up the crowd by belting out "Just In Time." Then he launched into a series of celebrity impersonations and riffs on such topics as competitive Jewish mothers and dealing with old age ("I told her to act her age, so she died"). In the 1986 book "The Stars of Stand-up Comedy: A Biographical Encyclopedia," author Ronald Lande Smith described the versatile Carter's style as "slick, fast, and furious." "A single gag is boosted by mimicry and emphasized with one of a dozen facial or physical takes . . . The style came from burlesque and marched to Vegas to a rim shot drum beat," Smith wrote. Carter's routine was snappy, irreverent and often veered into sexism. "Eighty percent of the money is spent by women," Carter observed on stage in the 1950s. "The other 20% is spent by men--on women!" "If you like to spend your vacation in out-of-the-way places where few people go, let your wife read the map," he said in the 1970s. "Canada ran out of silicone and the girls up there are using Hamburger Helper," he said in the 1980s. No matter what the joke, Smith wrote, "Carter can sell it with all the skill and savvy of a pro boxer making the most of every jab." During his long career, however, Carter was more than just a stand-up comic. As an actor, he had small parts in several dozen (mostly forgettable) movies. But he fared better with guest spots on television series including Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955) and Caroline in the City (1995).
Made his Broadway debut in 1947 as the replacement for Jules Munshin in the musical revue "Call Me Mister," and continued to perform on stage. That included a stint replacing Phil Silvers during the 1951-52 Broadway run of the musical comedy "Top Banana" and appearing in the 1956-57 Broadway musical comedy "Mr. Wonderful," starring Sammy Davis Jr. Over the years he also appeared in regional productions of "Guys and Dolls," "Sugar" and "Mr Wonderful," as well as playing Fagin in a touring company production of "Oliver." It was as a stand-up comedian, though, that Carter was best known. In his 1981 book "Funny People," comedian Steve Allen wrote that Carter "possesses a wildly inventive creativity, whether on-or-off stage." Whether it was a shouted insult, a woman with an unusual dress or a slow response by a lighting technician, Allen wrote, "Jack Carter can take it, add a whiff of magic dust to it, and make audiences roar with laughter." The vast majority of comedians are thrown by the unexpected, Allen added, but "Carter makes capital of the unexpected, particularly if it seems to put him at a disadvantage. He is magnificent grouser, a brilliant complainer, a wizard of 'Why me?'" The grousing extended off stage as well. "Had I done a one-man show I'd have maintained my greatness," Carter complained in a 1992 interview with the "Los Angeles Times". "I can sing and dance--everything. But they only see you as brash." No one, he said, "is more bitter than I am. I get it before I even show up. 'He's not an actor' or 'He's vicious.' 'Cheap' is the big one. When they wanna get you they say, 'He's got the first dollar he ever made.'" Later in the same interview, Carter groused, "In the past 10 years I've neglected my life. I should have gotten out of [show business] long ago. I appreciate success, but I'm not built to play the game. My wife tells me, 'You're so angry! You're like an animal".
Cousin of Myron Cohen.

Personal Quotes (12)

[on Al Kelly, an old-time comedian who specialized in "double talk"] We were entertaining horse people of America at The Waldorf. It was for horse owners. They hired him to double talk them and this crowd never knew that he was double talking. They had never seen that. He'd say, "You know, when your horse has the frayhayvem, you've got to pull him tight by the reins, otherwise he'll clebblelayem." They said, "My God, he's right. The little guy is right." He walked off and never got a laugh. He said, "What the hell is the matter with those people?" I said, "They believed you!"
[on Don Rickles] He does twenty minutes of insults and forty minutes of apologizing . . .
[on Buddy Hackett] A very angry man. He carried a gun. He was violent. He shot up a car in Vegas that parked in his spot. The Mafia wanted to kill him and I don't know who protected him. I think he shot himself in the end. He went out to the beach to die. They claimed he had a cold, but I don't think so. I think he shot himself.
[about Jules Podell, the manager of the famous Copacabana nightclub in New York City] Howard Keel worked the club and was bombing terribly. No business. Three weeks of death. He had never talked to Podell the whole time and he sat down at Podell's booth one time and he said, "Mr. Podell, before I close I certainly would like to say hello to ya." Podell said to him, "Mr. Keel, can you take some constructive criticism?" He said, "Sure." Podell said, "Go fuck yourself!"
[on Corbett Monica] I think everyone hated him because he would steal your act. He loved to steal. I once went to see [Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé] and he was working with them and I heard my jokes! One after another! "Who the hell is this Corbett Monica!?" Yeah, he was a real scumbag.
[on Red Buttons] Cheapest man who ever lived. Not cheap, penurious. Naw. I'll top that even. Miserly. Never had an act. Never worked Vegas and the minute somebody died they'd go to him for an interview. He never worked Vegas. He never had an act. He went there once to The Fremont Hotel and they canceled him in one night. He had no act. He had that little Jewish, "Ho ho! Ho ho!" with three jokes. But you've got to have an act for Vegas! You've got to be a pro! . . . He schlepped along for years doing nothing until he got lucky with "Never got a dinner." That made him and he got huge money--thirty or forty thousand an appearance. He aggrandized that with his "I was there! I saw it!" bit. So in his later years he scored big. But he was always the cheapo. He and Gene Barry. Two leading cheapos . . .
[on Jerry Lester] He was vicious. He was vicious and angry. He was only outdone by his brother Buddy Lester, who wound up living in Vegas and doing odd jobs and movie bits.
[on Johnny Carson] I never got along with him. He was a terrible anti-Semite . . . Jan Murray beat him up one night. We went to a restaurant one night and he was throwing around the "Jew bastard" line, you know? Jan slapped him around. One night we had to throw him out of a party. Milton Berle threw him out on the lawn. Threw him out of the house.
[on Tony Martin] He's a strange guy. You've got to get to know him. Not a nice man. Very snappy, very edgy, kind of always angry. I played golf with him at Hillcrest. He hit a shot this far from the flag and he got mad because it wasn't on THIS side of the flag.
[on Norm Crosby] Norm Crosby and I were friends for a long time, but he is a joke thief and he stole a ton of material from me and many others. He got up in temple once and started to do one of my stories. I stopped him. He's a reciter. He has no actual funny bone, but he knows how to put jokes together and blend them and do a half-hour. He was always an opening act, never a headliner. Never in your life will you meet someone who says they're a Norm Crosby fan, y'know.
[on Woody Allen] We did a talk show, a panel together, and he disrespected somebody. I jumped into the conversation and attacked him back and we were trading lines. We were never friendly again. I used to go see him do his jazz thing in New York and he wouldn't even talk to me.
[on Perry Como] I did Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall (1948) and Perry turned on me. He didn't like the song I was doing. It was an Irish-themed show and I sang that line, "I'm the only Italian in MacNamara's Band." He thought I wrote that and told me it was in bad taste . . . Como never used me again. I couldn't believe it. What a moron! He thought I had put that in there to make fun of Italians! That's the way it went down and I never did the Como show again.

Salary (1)

Cavalcade of Stars (1949) $750 /week

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