From 1932 to 1953 on radio, and from 1951 to 1965 on television, Jack Benny was one of the biggest entertainers in American show business. Before any of that, he worked in vaudeville. He also starred in movies and did benefit concerts (being a much better violinist than he let on in his shows). But he is best remembered as the cheapskate millionaire character he played on the Jack Benny Show, with a long-running cast of supporting characters. This 1990 biography by his daughter uses generous excerpts from a manuscript autobio Jack Benny wrote about 1972, just a couple years before his death. It's better than you might expect; Benny is honest and humble, though he enjoys relating hilarious stories of on-air antics and unscripted memories, and Joan's memoir, which grapples with her mother's insecurities and vanity as well as her own marital difficulties, turns out to be more interesting than one might initially believe.
This report prepared by David Loftus