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Fred Allen

Biography

b. John Florence Sullivan, 31 Might 1894, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, d. 17 March 1956, NY, USA. A comedian, acting professional and singer, having a dried out, gravelly tone of voice, baggy eye, and deadpan manifestation, which produced him perfect for the type of topical ointment monologues that became his speciality. After their studies at Boston College or university, he headlined in vaudeville prior to making his Broadway debut within the revue The Passing Display (1922). This is accompanied by Vogues Of 1924, and an excellent role because the wise-cracking reporter Addie Stiles within the musical humor Polly (1929), which folded after fourteen days. Much more effective were the advanced hit revues THE TINY Display (1929) and Three’s A Audience (1930), where Allen co-starred with Clifton Webb and Libby Holman. Allen continued to make many films, like the musicals Thanks a lot A Mil (1935), Sally, Irene And Mary (1938) and Like Thy Neighbour (1940). The last mentioned film recreated the ongoing ‘feud’ with comedian Jack port Benny which was a normal of Allen’s top-rated network radio display. Allen’s wife, Portland Hoffa, who acquired made an appearance with him in revue, was also an associate of the ensemble of this hugely well-known series, which went through the entire 30s and 40s.

Quick Facts


Full Name Fred Allen
Date Of Birth May 31, 1894
Died March 17, 1956, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States
Profession Comedian, Journalist
Education Boston University
Nationality American
Spouse Portland Hoffa
Parents James Henry Sullivan, Cecilia Herlihy Sullivan
Siblings Robert Sullivan
Awards Peabody Award
Music Songs Sexual Thang, Benny and Allen Kill Vaudeville, Fred Allen Show - One Long Pan, What You Gonna Do, Fred Allen Show - Getting in the Roxy for Free, Touch Yo Toes, It's Yours, Dreaming, Anxious, A Winner, "King for a Day" Feud With Jack Benny, Party Time, Have You Ever Been Swindled?, Peter Lorre Pays a Visit, Cover Girl, Should Housewives Be Paid?, Body Dripping Wet, Fred Returns to Radio, Stay, Searching, The Housing Shortage, I Choose U, Dance, Always, Did Me Wrong, Searchin', Can't Live Without You, Fred Writes a Play for James Mason, Senator Claghorn, Special Kind of Lover, Love Is Here to Stay, Dance with Me
Albums Winner, Anxious
Movies O. Henry's Full House, We're Not Married!, It's in the Bag!, Love Thy Neighbor, Sally, Irene and Mary, Thanks a Million, Project XX: The Jazz Age
TV Shows What's My Line?, The Colgate Comedy Hour, Judge for Yourself, Chesterfield Sound Off Time


  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1 Father: John H. Sullivan; Mother: Cecilia Herlihy.
2 His face & baggy eyes became familiar to millions of movie goers in his mid 30s.
3 Distant relative of comedian Joe Lipari. (Mr. Allen was Joe's grandfather's cousin.).
4 He was awarded two Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio (6709 1/2 Hollywood Boulevard) and for Television (7021 Hollywood Boulevard) in Hollywood, California.
5 In July, 1955, had an appendectomy, which caused him to miss two telecasts of What's My Line? (1950) where he had found a home as a regular weekly panelist.
6 Worked in vaudeville under a variety of names, including John Sullivan (the one his parents gave him), Paul Huckle, Fred St. James and Benjamin Franklin.
7 Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith; pg. 10-12. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
8 Star of CBS Radio's "Texaco Star Theater" (1940-1944).
9 Fred Allen was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1988.
10 One of Fred Allen's best known schticks was his long-standing feud with fellow comedian Jack Benny. The two often appeared on each other's radio programs to trade barbs. Sadly, other than an appearance on "The Jack Benny Program," in which Fred tries to steal Jack's sponsor, this did not carry over into television, as Allen died shortly after beginning his own TV show. In real life, of course, Benny and Allen were great friends, and Benny even took time on his radio program to eulogize Allen after his death.
11 Radio comic of the 1930s and '40s.


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Christophers 1956 TV Series
The Jack Benny Program 1953 TV Series Fred Allen
All Star Revue 1953 TV Series Guest Comedian
O. Henry's Full House 1952 Sam 'Slick' Brown (segment "The Ransom of Red Chief")
We're Not Married! 1952 Steven S. 'Steve' Gladwyn
It's in the Bag! 1945 Fred F. Trumble Floogle
Love Thy Neighbor 1940 Fred Allen
Buck Benny Rides Again 1940 Fred Allen (voice)
Sally, Irene and Mary 1938 Gabriel 'Gabby' Green
Thanks a Million 1935 Ned Lyman
The Still Alarm 1930 Short
Fred Allen's Prize Playlets 1929 Short
The Installment Collector 1929 Short The Newspaper Editor

Writer

Writer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
It's in the Bag! 1945 screen treatment
Thanks a Million 1935 contributor to dialogue - uncredited
Success 1931 Short story
The Under Dog 1930 Short
Faint Heart 1929 Short story
Fred Allen's Prize Playlets 1929 Short uncredited

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
It's in the Bag! 1945 performer: "The Curse of an Aching Heart" 1913, "Sweet Genevieve" 1869 - uncredited
Thanks a Million 1935 "Square Deal Party" 1935, uncredited / performer: "Happy Days Are Here Again" 1929 - uncredited

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Dream Job 2012 Short in memory of
George Carlin: Carlin on Campus 1984 TV Special documentary special thanks

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The David Frost Show 1970 TV Series Himself
Project XX 1956 TV Series documentary Himself - Narrator
What's My Line? 1953-1956 TV Series Himself - Panelist / Himself / Himself - Mystery Guest
I've Got a Secret 1955 TV Series Celebrity Guest
Armstrong Circle Theatre 1954 TV Series Himself / George Bidwell / Bartender / ...
This Is Your Life 1954 TV Series Himself
Judge for Yourself 1954 TV Series Himself - Host
All Star Revue 1951-1953 TV Series Himself - Guest Comedian / Himself - Comedian
The Jack Benny Program 1953 TV Series Himself
Chesterfield Sound Off Time 1952 TV Series Himself
The Colgate Comedy Hour 1950-1951 TV Series Himself - Comedian / Himself / Himself - Host
Your Show of Shows 1951 TV Series Himself - Guest Performer
We, the People 1948 TV Series Himself - Host
Behind Your Radio Dial 1948 Documentary short Himself
Is Everybody Listening? 1947 Documentary short Fred Allen - Fred Allen Radio Program
The March of Time: Volume 1, Number 5 1937 Documentary short Himself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Television: The First Fifty Years 1999 Video documentary Himself
Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio 1991 Documentary Himself - Predicts Demise of Radio (uncredited)
The Great Standups 1984 TV Movie documentary Himself
TV's Funniest Game Show Moments 1984 TV Special Himself
Bob Hope's World of Comedy 1976 TV Movie Tribute Montage
Happy Days 1970-1976 TV Series Himself
The Great Radio Comedians 1972 TV Movie documentary Fred Allen
The DuPont Show of the Week 1961 TV Series Himself
Screen Snapshots 2856: It Was Only Yesterday 1950 Short Fred Allen
The Great American Broadcast 1941 Fred Allen (uncredited)

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1960 Star on the Walk of Fame Walk of Fame Television On 8 February 1960. At 7021 Hollywood Blvd.
1960 Star on the Walk of Fame Walk of Fame Radio On 8 February 1960. At 6709-1/2 Hollywood Blvd.


Looks like we don't have salary information. Sorry!


#Quote
1 [on Ed Sullivan] He's a pointer. A dog could do that show.
2 [observation, 1956] Vaudeville is dead. The acrobats, the animal acts, the dancers, the singers and the old-time comedians have taken their final bows and disappeared into the wings of obscurity. For 50 years vaudeville was the popular entertainment of the masses. Nomadic tribes of nondescript players roamed the land. The vaudeville actor was part gypsy and part suitcase. With his brash manner, flashy clothes, capes and cane, and accompanied by his gaudy womenfolk, the vaudevillian brought happiness and excitement to the communities he visited. Vaudeville was more a matter of style than of material. It was not so much what the two- and three-a-day favorites said and did, as how they said and did it. For 50 years vaudeville's minstrels found their way into all lands, preaching their gospel of merriment and song, and rousing the rest of the world to laughter and to tears. A few diehards who knew and enjoyed vaudeville hover over their television sets, hoping for a miracle. They believe this electronic device is a modern oxygen tent that in some mysterious way can revive vaudeville and return its colorful performers of yesteryear to the current scene. The optimism of these day and night dreamers is wasted. Their vigils are futile. Vaudeville is dead. Period.
3 An actor's popularity is fleeting. His success has the life expectancy of a small boy who is about to look into a gas tank with a lighted match.
4 Television is a new medium. It's called a medium because it's rare when anything is well-done.
5 [on committee] Committee] a group of men who individually can do nothing but as a group decide nothing can be done.
6 Hollywood is a place where people from Iowa mistake each other for stars.
7 My eyes look as though they are peeping over two dirty ping pong balls.
8 [on Ed Sullivan] He'll be around for as long as someone else has talent.
9 I learned law so well, the day I graduated I sued the college and got my tuition fees back.
10 To a newspaperman a human being is an item with the skin wrapped around it.
11 Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns; he should be drawn and quoted.
12 Television is a device that permits people who haven't anything to do to watch people who can't do anything.
13 A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.
14 You can take all of the sincerity in Hollywood and put into a mosquito's navel and still have room for two caraway seeds and a producer's heart.
15 California is a fine place to live--if you happen to be an orange.

#Trademark
1 Played the clarinet

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