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 January 1, 2024

Veteran comedian Shecky Greene dead at 97

Comedy luminary Shecky Greene, renowned for his enduring stand-up career and frequent appearances on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," has passed away at the age of 97.

The news was confirmed by Howard Rapp, Greene's long-time manager, who hailed him as one of the "GREATEST performers who made people laugh all the time."

His background

Born Fred Sheldon Greenfield in 1926, Greene's comedic journey took off in Las Vegas, where he shared stages with luminaries such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

He became an integral part of the Rat Pack circle, harboring a complex "love/hate" relationship with Sinatra.

Despite his innate comedic talent, Greene grappled with stage fright, mental health challenges, and battled alcoholism.

His notoriety peaked in 1968 with a car crash into the fountains outside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, an incident immortalized by his quip about "spray wax," which became a defining aspect of his legacy.

His career

Greene's career spanned various facets of entertainment, including stand-up, movies, and television series.

His film credits include "History of the World: Part I," "Splash," "Tony Rome," while his television appearances encompassed iconic shows like "The Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," and "The A-Team."

Despite personal struggles, he remained a force in the comedy scene, delivering his final performances in 2011.

His passing

His widow, Marie Musso Greene, confirmed that he passed away from natural causes at their Las Vegas residence. Reflecting on their 41-year marriage, Marie shared that being with Greene was filled with laughter and joy, emphasizing his ability to make people laugh and feel good.

Shecky’s rep, Howard Rapp, told Page Six, “[He] was a great comedian/actor. He retired for 7 years and came back and worked many of his venues and new ones too. He developed a new younger audience that he loved to work for.

“I spoke to him last week and we discussed politics to comedy. He finished with one of his made up songs and included my name in it just like he always do. Rest in peace, Shecky. We still love you.”

Greene's profound impact on comedy, spanning decades of laughter-inducing performances, marks the end of an era in stand-up. From his early days in Las Vegas to becoming a fixture on television screens, Greene's legacy endures as a testament to the enduring power of humor.

His ability to find humor in every situation, even amid personal challenges, solidifies his place as one of the greatest comedy talents, leaving an indelible mark on the world of entertainment.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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