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Garry Moore, whose short crew-cut hair became his trademark, arrived on American television in the early 1950s, after starring on a popular radio programme with comedian Jimmy Durante.
Moore’s first TV show was a five-day-a-week summer replacement variety show for CBS that featured singers Denise Lor and Ken Carson, and announcer Durwood Kirby.
The Garry Moore Show was heard on the radio as well as being seen on TV, and featured comedy sketches, musical numbers and chatter, and had a relaxed, familiar quality that made it popular with viewers.
The show was expanded to a full hour but lasted less than a year.
Moore returned to television in 1958 with a new series that became one of the most successful variety shows on American television. The new hour-long show had a big budget and featured lavishly staged musical numbers, numerous guest stars, a popular weekly feature called ‘That Wonderful Year’ (which each week highlighted events and entertainers from past years), and a fine cast of talented regulars including his previous announcer, Durwood Kirby.
The show also featured Marion Lorne (a dithery, stammering actress who had scored a major success on the Mr Peepers show in the early 50s), comedienne Carol Burnett, and Alan Funt and his Candid Camera films.
In 1964 Moore decided he needed a rest from the tiring weekly grind of putting on a fast-paced, elaborate variety show, and announced his decision to end the weekly show.
After a well-earned rest, he returned to television in 1966 with a new, less elaborate variety and comedy series that once again featured his old sidekick, Kirby. The new show was short-lived, however, and was cancelled after only a few months.
Moore gradually faded from the spotlight and only occasionally performed on television thereafter. He died of emphysema at Hilton Head, South Carolina, on 28 November 1993, at the age of 78.