National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day October 13 – Ed Sullivan

0 Comments 13 October 2011

Hello Folks,

Ed Sullivan was an American Icon. No doubt about it. He brought anything that was worth a damn into people’s homes every Sunday night. But that was back when we had a mono culture, not like today with the goddam kids with the goddam internet. But anyways, because – as this obit suggests – Mr. Sullivan was ‘bashful, clumsy, self-conscious, forgetful and tongue-tied. And there were times he was painfully, excruciatingly sentimental’ we decided to highlight an artistsĀ  whom is a personal favorite of the staff here at the NOR and his performance on the Ed Sullivan show.

Ed Sullivan Is Dead at 73; Charmed Millions on TV


Ed Sullivan, who entertained hundreds of millions of Americans over his long career as Broadway columnist and host of the long-running televised Sunday evening variety show, died last night of cancer. He was 73 years old.

Mr. Sullivan had been under treatment for cancer of the esophagus at the Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan since Sept. 6, when the affliction was diagnosed.

His survivors include a daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Precht, of Scarsdale, N.Y.; five grandchildren; three sisters, Mrs. Piercy Cuyler, of Manhattan, and Mrs. Hugh Murphy and Mrs. George Hagele, both of Port Chester, N.Y., and a brother, Charles, also of Port Chester.

His wife of 42 years, the former Sylvia Weinstein, died on March 16, 1973.

A Broadway Fixture

Ed Sullivan, a rock-faced Irishman with a hot temper, painful shyness and a disdain for phonies, had been a successful and well-known part of the Broadway scene since the Twenties.

But writing a gossip column, shuttling about the fringes of the entertainment world and being master of ceremonies for a succession of variety shows never gave him what he wanted most out of life–national recognition.

He didn’t achieve that until he moved into the whirlwind world of television in 1948, and his weekly show became an essential part of Sunday evening for millions of Americans.

Between 45,000,000 and 50,000,000 persons tuned in every week to watch the show–a vaudeville-like parade of top talent that cost $8,000,000 a year to produce and for which Mr. Sullivan received $164,000 a year.

The show was worth every penny of that to its sponsors, Lincoln-Mercury automobile dealers, who made Mr. Sullivan their salesman in chief through numerous trips around the country. And he was the proudest possession of the Columbia Broadcasting System, which found he could outdraw almost any competition from the other networks.

The basis of his appeal was an ephemeral thing that baffled those who tried to analyze it. He was not witty, he had no formal talents, he could not consciously entertain anyone. He was bashful, clumsy, self-conscious, forgetful and tongue-tied. And there were times he was painfully, excruciatingly sentimental.

The television critics unmercifully panned him for these faults in the early years of his show. Sponsors were leery of him. The network pinched pennies on his budget to the point that he was putting up his own salary to buy talent. Continue Reading



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