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Ed Sullivan

Born: 1902 AD
Died: 1974 AD
Nationality: American
Categories: TV Host

1901 – Edward Vincent Sullivan, born on the 28th of September in New York. He was an American entertainment writer and television host.




1930 – He was married to Sylvia Weinstein. They had one daughter, Betty Sullivan (who married the Sullivan show’s producer, Bob Precht). Sullivan was in the habit of calling Sylvia after every program to get her immediate critique.




1932 – New York newspaper columnist Ed Sullivan became a show business personality, he was Hired by the CBS network as a potential rival for radio commentator Walter Winchell, Sullivan took to the air with a heady combination of gossip and entertainment. Among the future radio luminaries introduced on Sullivan’s program were Jack Benny and Jack Pearl (aka Baron Munchhausen).




1933 – Sullivan made his film debut in Mr. Broadway, which he also wrote. His subsequent screenplay and story contributions included the screwball comedy There Goes My Heart (1938) and the Universal "pocket" musical Ma, He’s Making Eyes at Me (1940).




1947 – he entered the fledgling medium of television to host a variety hour titled Toast of the Town,

later re-christened The Ed Sullivan Show. 




1948 – The CBS network hired him to do a weekly Sunday night TV variety show, Toast of the Town, which later became The Ed Sullivan Show. Dean Martin And Jerry Lewis were the featured guests on Sullivan’s debut show.




             -Many stars made their first TV appearance on Sullivan, including Humphrey Bogart, Bob Hope, Lena Horne and The Beatles.




1955 – Bo Diddley was asked by him to sing Tennessee Ernie Ford’s hit "Sixteen Tons". Come air time, Diddley sang his #2 hit song, "Bo Diddley". He was banned from the show.





         -He had a knack for picking the acts that America would enjoy. He could read an audience. If his test audience did not like the performer in question, the rest of the country would not see that performance on their televisions on Sunday night.




1956 – He was injured in an automobile accident that occurred near his country home in Southbury, Connecticut.




1956  – Elvis Presley’s  appearances, which Sullivan reluctantly agreed to, became the stuff of legend — Presley’s gyrating hips were too controversial for a family program and were conspicuously avoided by the camera.




1961 – He was asked by CBS to fill in for an ailing Red Skelton on The Red Skelton Show. He performed some of Skelton’s characters successfully.




         -A regular feature on Sullivan’s show was a bit by Topo Gigio, an Italian mouse puppet



1964 – the first live American appearance on his show, of The Beatles, on February. They recorded 3 perfomanes shown during the month. 




1967 – CBS changed the name of his broadcast studio in New York to The Ed Sullivan Theater.




1969 – Presented the Jackson 5 with their first single "I Want You Back", which ousted B. J. Thomas’s "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" from the top spot of Billboard’s pop charts.




1971 – The show was no longer in television’s top 20. New CBS executives, who wanted to attract younger viewers, canceled the show along with virtually all of the network’s oldest shows.




1973 – He was so upset and angry he refused to do a final show, although he did return to CBS for several TV specials and a 25th anniversary show.




1974 – Died on the 13th of October.



Tom Smothers, of the Smothers Brothers comedy duo, said it well, "Ed Sullivan was almost like a non-host. He didn’t have all the slick moves and stuff. But what he gave you was entertainment in its purest form. No ulterior motives, no hidden agenda. Just unadulterated presentations from the best performing artists of the time."



Unlike many shows of the time, Sullivan asked that most musical acts perform their music live, rather than lip-syncing to their recordings. Some of these performances have recently been issued on CD and DVD.