Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Alan King had a comedy routine that involved mostly reading obituaries. He was famous for his comedic rants and this one was about how unfair it was that women outlived men. Some of the obituaries described horrific accidents in which the husband died but not the wife. In one, the lady leaped out a window in a suicide attempt, landed on her husband and killed him. She survived. King’s anger at these reports kept the audience in stitches.

Near the end of his act he went into the audience to let some of them read the last line of the obituary. Invariably it said, “Survived by his wife.” The last one was the death of the oldest living West Point graduate. He had an audience member verify the last line. It was, he shouted in indignation, “Survived by his wife!” The crowd loved it. Permit me to say, he killed.

That came to mind when I read about the death, at age 88, of June Allyson. She was one of the top movie stars of the 50’s. She was the epitome of the girl next door. Not the Playboy version but the sweet, demure, approachable girl next door. Far sexier, with her husky voice, because she seemed obtainable. She starred with many big male leads of the day, Jimmy Stewart, Van Johnson, and Peter Lawford among others.

The last I heard of her she was married to Dick Powell. She had starred with him in a movie. After the fifties, she sort of sank out of sight. She not only survived the death of Dick Powell, she lived a whole lifetime since. After his death, she was married three times. At the time of her death, she had been married for 30 years! I’m thinking, if Alan King could hear about this, he could add it to his act.

But Alan King had died at the age of 76. Oh yeah, he was survived by his wife of 57 years.


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