Jack Carter, Legendary Vaudeville Comedian And TV Personality, Dies At 93

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Comedian Jack Carter, a fixture in comedy clubs as well as TV variety shows for over seven decades, has passed away at age 93, Variety is reporting.

Carter passed away of respiratory failure Sunday at his home in Beverly Hills, but his death is only now gaining attention in the national media.

Jack Carter made a name for himself in the early days of television in the late 1940’s, according to Salon. The comedian’s brash and caustic style of biting humor caught the attention of NBC programming exec Pat Weaver, who made Carter the foundation of a Saturday-night two-hour bloc of comedy and variety programming called Saturday Night Revue. Carter’s effort, The Jack Carter Show, provided the first hour of programming – Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows provided the second hour.

Carter would begin each episode of his namesake show with a monologue that included jabs at the news of the day. Considered revolutionary at the time, the device is still used by late-night comedians, like Jimmy Kimmel and James Corden, to this day.

Unfortunately, The Jack Carter Show lost ground to the much more popular Sid Caesar show, and Carter would never headline his own TV show. In a 1963 interview, Carter reminisced about why his headlining show failed to catch on.

“Maybe I come on too strong. Directors and producers fear you when you come on strong. They’re afraid they may not be able to control you.”

Although headlining his own show wasn’t in the cards, Jack Carter nevertheless became a familiar face on TV variety shows. He made over 50 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, as well as appearances on The Dean Martin Show, The Andy Williams Show, Laugh-In, and innumerable specials. In his later years, he became a fixture on game shows, appearing as a panelist on The Match Game and making appearances on The $10,000 Pyramid.

Despite being best known for his comedy and variety chops, Carter also had a knack for drama. He began his career as a dramatic actor on stage, and in his later years, he would go on to receive Emmy nominations for his dramatic role on NBC’s Dr. Kildare.

Jack Carter is survived by his wife of over 40 years, Roxanne, as well as sons Michael Carter and Chase Carter, daughter Wendy Carter, and two grandchildren.