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Updated January 1st, 2024 at 07:54 IST

Shecky Greene, legendary stand up comedian, dies at the age of 97

Shecky Greene passed away from natural causes and took his last breath at his Las Vegas home on Sunday, December 31.

Shecky Greene
Shecky Greene | Image:X
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Renowned comedian Shecky Greene died at the age of 97 on New Year's Eve. The comic passed away from natural causes and took his last breath at his Las Vegas home on Sunday. His death was confirmed by his 41-year-wife, Marie Musso Greene to Las Vegas Review-Journal. Greene had been a popular Las Vegas headliner for almost sixty years, having delighted audiences with thousands of TV appearances and stand-up shows since 1947.

Shecky Greene’s rise to fame 

Born Fred Sheldon Greenfield, Greene took to singing, acting, making jokes, and doing mock accents while growing up on the North Side of Chicago. He served in the Navy in World War II in the Pacific.

On returning to Chicago, he went to community college and thought he might become a gym teacher, but started doing comedy nightclub gigs for money. An offer of a two-week gig at the Prevue Lounge in New Orleans turned into a six-year stint.

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He did his first show in Las Vegas in 1953. He found he and the Strip were a perfect match, and within a few years, he owned the town. In 1956, he opened for a young Elvis Presley at the New Frontier.

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Shecky Greene’s film appearances and retirement

Greene made appearances in films including 1967’s Tony Rome with Sinatra, 1981’s History of the World Part I with Mel Brooks, and 1984’s Splash with Tom Hanks, showed up on network sitcoms including Laverne & Shirley and Mad About You, and was a constant guest on talk and variety shows.

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Greene would remain a Vegas mainstay, his playgrounds places like the Riviera and the Tropicana, for the next 30 years.

 

From 1972 to 1982 Greene was married to Nalani Kele, a dancer whose show, the Nalani Kele Polynesian Revue, was a long-running nightclub hit. In 1985, he married Marie Musso, daughter of jazz saxophonist Vido Musso.

Greene moved to Palm Springs in an attempt at retirement in his late 70s in 2004, but the stage still had appeal, and he returned for a stint in Las Vegas at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino in 2009.

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(with inputs from AP)

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Published January 1st, 2024 at 07:54 IST

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