Marty Allen, the wild-haired comedian whose hundreds of talk show appearances earned him the nickname “The Darling of Daytime TV,” died Feb. 12 of complications from pneumonia with his wife and performing partner Karon Kate Blackwell by his side, the Associated Press reports. He was 95.
Allen’s career began in the ’50s, working with his partner Mitch DeWood as an opening act for performers like Nat King Cole and Sarah Vaughn. After he split with DeWood, he partnered with Steve Rossi in 1957. Allen & Rossi became talk show fixtures, appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show 44 times, including the historic 1964 episode where the Beatles made their American debut. “I’m Ringo‘s mother,” Allen joked during that appearance.
Allen & Rossi amicably parted in 1968, and reunited sporadically until the ’90s (Rossi died in 2014). Allen then made hundreds of TV appearances throughout the ’70s and ’80s, frequently appearing on game shows like Hollywood Squares and Password. He also acted on shows including The Big Valley and Night Gallery.
After Allen and Blackwell married in 1984, they became a musical comedy act that performed at casinos throughout the country. Their last show was in 2015.
Allen was a veteran of World War II. He served in the Army Air Corps in Italy and earned a Soldier’s Medal for bravery while fighting a fire that occurred while a plane was being refueled.
Allen was born Morton Alpern on March 23, 1922 in Pittsburgh. He is survived by his wife.
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