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Steve Allen

Composer / TV Personality / Writer
Date Of Birth:
26 December 1921
Date Of Death:
30 October 2000
heart failure
Place Of Birth:
New York City, New York
Steve Allen was the original host of TV's The Tonight Show, but by the end of his career he was more famous for being multi-talented than for any individual achievement. His official website called him a "one-man creative conglomerate." Steve Allen was the host of The Tonight Show from its first New York broadcast in 1953 until 1957, when he was replaced by Jack Paar. (Allen is often credited with pioneering the "man on the street" and audience-participation comedy bits which became a staple of late-night TV.) He hosted other comedy and variety shows on various networks from the 1950s through the 1980s, and emceed the game show I've Got A Secret. From 1977-81 he wrote and starred in A Meeting of Minds, a fictional talk show starring famous figures from history. On film he played jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman in the 1955 movie The Benny Goodman Story. Steve Allen also claimed to have composed more than 7900 songs; in one famous stunt he dashed off 400 quickie tunes in one day. His best-known song is probably This Could Be The Start of Something Big, and his Gravy Waltz won a 1963 Grammy as best jazz composition. He was the author of over 50 books, including The Talk Show Murders (1982).
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Steve Allen was married twice. His marriage to Dorothy Goodman lasted from 1943 until their divorce in 1952. They had three children: Steve Jr., Brian, and David. Allen’s second marraige was to the actress Jayne Meadows, sister of The Honeymooners star Audrey Meadows. They had one child, a son named Bill. That marriage lasted until Steve Allen’s death in 2000… An autopsy after Steve Allen’s death revealed that his fatal heart failure was likely caused by a minor traffic accident earlier the same day.

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