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Ernie Kovacs

Biography

Innovative TV comedian, writer, and actor whose shows 3 to ready and Kovacs for the Corner were known for his or her experimental style. He was posthumously inducted in to the Academy of Tv Arts & Sciences Hall of Popularity in 1987, years after his loss of life. By using his instructor Harold Vehicle Kirk, he gained an acting scholarship or grant towards the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1937. His 1st paid entertainment function arrived in 1941 like a disk jockey on Trenton’s WTTM radio. His experimental and improvisational design has influenced night time Television show hosts like Craig Ferguson. He wedded Bette Lee Wilcox on August 13, 1945 and divorced her in 1952. When he was granted full guardianship of their two kids she kidnapped them and got these to Florida. After regaining guardianship of his kids, he wedded his second wife, Edie Adams, on Sept 12, 1954. David Letterman cited Ernie Kovacs as the comedian who influenced him.

Quick Facts


Full Name Ernie Kovacs
Date Of Birth January 23, 1919
Place Of Birth Trenton, NJ
Profession Comedian
Education American Academy of Dramatic Arts
Nationality American
Spouse Edie Adams, Bette Wilcox
Children Mia Susan Kovacs, Kip Raleigh Kovacs, Elizabeth Kovacs
Parents Andrew Kovacs, Mary Kovacs
Siblings Tom Kovacs
Awards DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement In Electronic Camerawork
Nominations Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Primetime Emmy Award for Best Continuing Performance - Comedian In A Series, Primetime Emmy Award for Best Comedy Writing - Variety or Situation Comedy
Movies Operation Mad Ball, It Happened to Jane, Our Man in Havana, Wake Me When It's Over, Strangers When We Meet, North to Alaska, Pepe, Five Golden Hours, Sail a Crooked Ship, Silent Show, Kovacs!
TV Shows The Ernie Kovacs Show, What's My Line?, Take a Good Look, The Tonight Show, Silent Show, Ernie In Kovacsland, One Minute Please, Time Will Tell, Gamble on Love, Tonight Starring Steve Allen
Star Sign Aquarius

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1Kovacs won awards for producing commercials for his TV sponsor, Dutch Masters Cigars. These one minute spots were done as sort of "minute movies" in a humorous vein. He utilized Classical chamber music and no spoken word until the final message of: :"Next time, step up to Dutch Masters!".
2Repeatedly used :"Rialto Ripples Rag" (1917) by George Gershwin as theme song for his various Television shows.
3He was nominated for the 2015 New Jersey Hall of Fame in the Performance Arts Category.
4He was nominated for a 2013 New Jersey Hall of Fame for Arts and Entertainment.
5He was nicknamed "Mister Moustache" by other television celebrities.
6Ernie Kovacs died only 10 days before his 43rd birthday.
7Portrayed by Jeff Goldblum in Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter (1984).
8His daughter Kippie was married to Burt Lancaster's son, screenwriter Bill Lancaster. She had one daughter, Keigh.
9Kovacs got custody of his oldest two daughters after his divorce, but in 1953 their mother kidnapped them and they were not returned to him until 1955. After Kovacs died, his widow Edie Adams successfully fought their birth mother for custody.
10He had three daughters: Betty (b. 1947) and Kippie (4 January 1949 - 28 Jul 2001) with first wife Bette Wilcox and Mia Kovacs (20 June 1959 - 8 May 1982) with second wife Edie Adams.
11Daughter actress Mia Kovacs died in an auto accident on 8 May 1982. Daughter Kippie Kovacs died after a long bout of ill health on 28 July 2001.
12Was chosen originally to play the character of Melville Crump in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963), but he died in a one-car accident before principal shooting. In real life he was married to Edie Adams, who played Melville Crump's newlywed wife, Monica Crump, in the movie. The role of Melville Crump was finally played by Sid Caesar.
13The car in which he was killed was a new 1962 Chevrolet Corvair.
14Married Edie Adams in Mexico City. The ceremony was presided over by former New York City mayor William O'Dwyer, and performed in Spanish, which neither Kovacs or Adams understood; O'Dwyer had to prompt each to say "Si" at the "I do" portion of the vows.
15His father was a bootlegger during prohibition.
16It is suspected that his death in a car crash was caused by losing control of the steering as he was trying to light a cigar by striking a match against his shoe sole. He hated to use lighters, believing they ruined the taste of a cigar.
17When he died, he owed the IRS several hundred thousand dollars in back taxes (he felt the tax system was unfair, and simply refused to pay it). His widow, Edie Adams, made television commercials and did other work to finally pay the back taxes, refusing help from her celebrity friends. She now owns all the rights to all of Ernie Kovacs' surviving television work.
18Created the first kaleidoscopic images on live television with a large metal can with two mirrors inside of it, taped to the lens of a television camera.
19Many of the kinescopes he made on the DuMont television network have been lost.
20Interred at Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, California, USA.


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Ernie Kovacs Show1961-1962TV SeriesVarious / Eugene
Medicine Man1962TV MovieDr. P. Crookshank
Sail a Crooked Ship1961Bugsy G. Foglemeyer aka The Captain
The United States Steel Hour1961TV Series
Five Golden Hours1961Aldo Bondi
Pepe1960Immigration Inspector
North to Alaska1960Frankie Canon
Strangers When We Meet1960Roger Altar
Goodyear Theatre1960TV SeriesMaximilian Frederick Krob
Wake Me When It's Over1960Capt. Charlie Stark
Our Man in Havana1959Capt. Segura
Shotgun Slade1959TV SeriesHack Hackberry
It Happened to Jane1959Harry Foster Malone
Kovacs on Music1959TV MovieHost / Various
Schlitz Playhouse1959TV SeriesHack
General Electric Theater1958-1959TV SeriesBarney Colby / Sam Lund
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse1959TV SeriesArthur Witten
The Jack Benny Program1959TV SeriesErnie Kovacs / Killer Kovacs
Bell Book and Candle1958Sidney Redlitch
Playhouse 901957TV SeriesTopaze
Operation Mad Ball1957Capt. Paul Lock
The Ernie Kovacs Show1957TV MovieEugene
Showdown at Ulcer Gulch1956ShortCameo appearance (Man in bar)
The Ernie Kovacs Show1956TV Series
It's Time for Ernie1951TV SeriesHost

Writer

Writer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Ernie Kovacs Show1961-1962TV Series 7 episodes
Kovacs on Music1959TV Movie
Producers' Showcase1957TV Series writer - 1 episode
The Ernie Kovacs Show1957TV Movie
The Ernie Kovacs Show1956TV Series writer - 1 episode

Director

Director

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Ernie Kovacs Show1961-1962TV Series 7 episodes
The Ernie Kovacs Show1957TV Movie

Producer

Producer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Ernie Kovacs Show1961-1962TV Series producer - 7 episodes
Kovacs on Music1959TV Movie producer

Editor

Editor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Ernie Kovacs Show1961TV Series
The Ernie Kovacs Show1957TV Movie

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show1958TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Big Record1958TV Series performer - 1 episode

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show1962TV SeriesHimself - Host
Silents Please1960-1961TV SeriesHimself - Host
The David Susskind Show1960-1961TV SeriesHimself
Take a Good Look1959-1960TV SeriesHimself - Host / Himself - Moderator
The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour1960TV SeriesHimself
This Is Your Life1960TV SeriesHimself
The Bob Hope Show1959TV SeriesHimself
Startime1959TV SeriesHimself
The 31st Annual Academy Awards1959TV SpecialHimself - Co-Presenter: Costume Design Awards
The Eddie Fisher Show1958-1959TV SeriesHimself
The Patti Page Oldsmobile Show1958TV SeriesHimself
The Arthur Murray Party1958TV SeriesHimself
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show1958TV SeriesHimself - Comedian / Singer
The Ed Sullivan Show1957-1958TV SeriesHimself
The Big Record1958TV SeriesHimself
You Bet Your Life1958TV SeriesHimself - Contestant
The 30th Annual Academy Awards1958TV SpecialHimself - Audience Member
The George Gobel Show1957TV SeriesHimself
The Dinah Shore Chevy Show1957TV SeriesHimself
What's My Line?1956-1957TV SeriesHimself - Guest Panelist / Himself - Mystery Guest / Himself / ...
Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall1957TV SeriesHimself
What's It For1957TV SeriesHimself - Host
The Polly Bergen Show1957TV SeriesHimself
Producers' Showcase1957TV SeriesHimself - Host
Tonight!1955-1957TV SeriesHimself - Guest Host
The Jerry Lewis Show1957TV SpecialHimself
Holiday on Ice1956TV MovieHimself
The Walter Winchell Show1956TV SeriesHimself
The Juke Box Jury1956TV SeriesHimself
I've Got a Secret1956TV SeriesHimself
The Ernie Kovacs Show1956TV SeriesHimself
The NBC Comedy Hour1956TV SeriesHimself / Percy Dovetonsils
Time Will Tell1954TV SeriesEmcee
Gamble on Love1954TV SeriesHimself (host, August, 1954)
One Minute Please1954TV SeriesHimself / panelst
Take a Guess1953TV SeriesHimself / panelist
Ernie in Kovacsland1951TV SeriesHimself - Host

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
I Love Lucy's 50th Anniversary Special2001TV Movie documentary
Biography1998TV Series documentarySubject
TV's Funniest Game Show Moments1984TV SpecialHimself
Ernie Kovacs: Television's Original Genius1982TV Movie documentaryHimself
Bob Hope's World of Comedy1976TV MovieHimself

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1962Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Achievement in Electronic CameraworkThe Ernie Kovacs Show (1961)
1962DGA AwardDirectors Guild of America, USAOutstanding Directorial Achievement in TelevisionThe Ernie Kovacs Show (1952)· Joseph Behar
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameTelevisionOn 8 February 1960. At 6307 Hollywood Blvd.

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1959Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Male Comedy PerformanceBell Book and Candle (1958)
1958Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsBest Comedy WritingThe Ernie Kovacs Show (1952)
1958Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop New Male Personality7th place.
1957Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsBest Continuing Performance by a Comedian in a SeriesThe Ernie Kovacs Show (1952)
1957Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsBest Comedy Writing - Variety or Situation ComedyThe Ernie Kovacs Show (1952)· Louis M. Heyward
· Rex Lardner
· Mike Marmer

TitleSalary
Operation Mad Ball (1957)$100,000

#Quote
1[on the 'Ernie Kovacs Show'] This is not primarily a comedy show, this is more or less an experiment that I'm doing. There is a strong element of comedy that runs through it, but it is a unique comedy. My particular affinity for the medium is to make it an electronic one and to use it for it's own intrinsic value and approach. But I don't put it above - nor do I put it below - other forms of comedy. This happens to be mine.
2I don't have an audience for my shows. I don't believe in that. An audience with free tickets will laugh at the pause because they've been told, nudgingly,'You are now to laugh'. And they're trying to be nice - they're fond of the people in the show and they want to show their appreciation and show they're glad to be there, so they'll laugh.
3There is currently a formula for success in the entertainment medium, that is -- beat it to death if it succeeds.
4Nothing In Moderation" - The epitaph on his tombstone
5Some years ago I had a complete nervous breakdown, was dead broke and had to be put in a charity ward with 30 others. I was there 18 months and doctors didn't give me long to live. So now each day to me is a special dividend, so I live it to the hilt. - response to gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, who asked him why he was "trying to kill himself."
6It's appropriate that television is considered a medium, since it's rare if it's ever well done.

#Trademark
1Cigars
2He wanted to use a kaleidoscope for visual scenes.
3His quirky humor

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