Jack Benny (1894-1974) was a vaudeville, radio, television, and film actor. Born Benjamin Kubelsky in Waukegan, Illinois, Benny first honed his talents as a comedian on the vaudeville stage, then found his style was uniquely adapted to the new medium of radio where he became a national celebrity with his Jack Benny Show (1943-1958). His wife Mary Livingstone often joined him on the show. Benny took the show to television while also make guest appearances on other programs. While his show was on its summer break in 1943, Benny performed in Europe and Africa on a U.S.O. tour. The United States Organizations provided live entertainment to troops posted stateside and overseas.
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Jack Benny and Dorothy Lamour in a scene from Man About Town, 1939
Man About Town is a 1939 musical comedy film starring Jack Benny, Dorothy Lamour, and Edward Arnold. The film is about a producer who tries to get his leading lady to take him seriously romantically by pursuing other women.
Jack Benny and troupe at Musical Medics Show, U.S. Naval Hospital, Aiea Heights during World War II
Jack Benny performing with his violin in a crowd of soldiers attending Benny's U.S.O. show, ca. 1943
Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone in a portrait taken soon after their marriage in 1927
Jack Benny and his wife Mary Livingstone performing a radio skit, ca. 1940
Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone perform for the camera, ca. 1935
Mary Livingstone was a reluctant performer with her husband. Her stage fright became so acute by the time Jack Benny's career moved to TV in the 1950s that she retired.