Marty Allen has died. The legendary comedian passed away in Las Vegas of complications from pneumonia, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Marty Allen was 95 years old.
Marty Allen was one half of the famous Allen & Rossi comedy team. Alongside partner Steve Rossi, the comedy duo had a prolific presence on the casino and nightclub circuit and on television in the late 1950s through the 1960s. Allen & Rossi logged dozens of appearances on The Hollywood Palace, The Dean Martin Show, and The Ed Sullivan Show. Marty was a frequent panelist on What’s My Line?, Match Game, and The Hollywood Squares, appearing in nearly 150 episodes of the TV game show. Marty’s acting credits included several movies (The Ballad of Billie Blue, Cannonball Run II) and guest spots on The Big Valley, Love American Style, Night Gallery, and the sitcom Benson, where he played a blackjack dealer in a 1985 episode.
Marty Allen, who was also known for his “Hello Dere” catchphrase and wild hair, released 16 comedy albums with straight man Steve Rossi. Some of Marty’s most famous comedy characters included a punch-drunk fighter and a clueless golfer. The duo ended their partnership in 1968 but reunited several times after their split. Steve Rossi died in 2014.
After Marty Allen’s death was announced, several stars took to social media to pay tribute to the beloved comedy legend, including singer Tony Orlando, who was a guest at Allen and Rossi’s 25th anniversary special. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried wrote that he recently attended Marty’s 95th birthday celebration.
Marty Allen was born in Pittsburgh in 1922. The World War II veteran was married to Lorraine “Frenchy” Allen from 1960 until her death in 1976. In 1984, Marty married Karon Kate Blackwell, who became his show business sidekick for 30 years, according to Deadline.
In an interview with Smashing Interviews magazine, Marty Allen revealed how he came up with his “Hello dere” catchphrase. Allen explained that during a Philadelphia nightclub act with Steve Rossi he blanked out and just blurted out the words “Hello dere.” The audience reacted positively to the flub and Marty’s signature statement was born.
“They started laughing and after the show, they came over to me and said, ‘Hello dere.’ It caught fire,” Allen said. “It was like you wait all your life to find some kind of thing to add to your act and this was it. ‘Hello dere’ became a very substantial part of our act. We started doing famous people in the news, and he would ask me who was so and so, and I’d go, ‘Hello dere,’ and then he’d ask me the question.”
You can see Marty Allen and Steve Rossi performing on The Dean Martin Show below.