Shecky Greene, standup comic for Sinatra and Elvis, Dead At 97

 December 31, 2023

Shecky Greene, an iconic figure in the world of comedy, has passed away.

At the age of 97, Greene, known for his vibrant presence in the entertainment industry, died in Las Vegas, his long-time home.

His wife, Marie Musso Greene, confirmed his passing. Greene's career spanned several decades, making him a familiar face on television screens across America. His unique style, characterized by flamboyant outfits and a penchant for throwing confetti, made him a beloved comedian.

From Chicago Clubs to Stardom

After serving in World War II, Greene began his entertainment career in Chicago nightclubs during the 1950s. This early start marked the beginning of a journey that would see him become a fixture in Las Vegas's vibrant entertainment scene. By 1954, he was performing at the New Frontier casino, signaling his long-lasting connection with the city.

Greene's talents extended beyond stand-up comedy. He took on roles in various TV shows such as "Combat," "Love American Style," "The Love Boat," and films like "Splash." His versatility as an entertainer was evident in these appearances.

Remembering a Comedic Genius

Tony Angellotti, a close friend of Greene, remembered him fondly. Angellotti highlighted Greene's unwavering passion for entertainment and his natural ability to bring joy and laughter to those around him.

He loved to entertain. It didn’t matter. He’d call my mother up and sing some made up on the spot song and hang up. He’d take a birthday cake we bought him and put red frosting on his nose to make my young son laugh. He lived to make and hear people laugh. It’s a gift he gave all of us.

Greene's appearances on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" showcased his comedic prowess. He graced the show over 60 times, leaving an indelible mark on its legacy. His guest-hosting for Johnny Carson further cemented his status as a television comedy legend.

Struggles and Triumphs

Despite his successful career, Greene faced personal challenges. He struggled with depression and substance abuse, particularly during the 1970s and 1980s. This period marked a slowdown in his career. However, Greene's resilience shone through as he made a comeback in the 1990s, appearing on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.

In a 1978 Variety ad celebrating his new Las Vegas contract, Greene reflected on his journey. He expressed gratitude for the trials and triumphs that shaped his career.

Greene's ability to improvise and tell jokes without notes was a testament to his skill as a comedian. His natural flair for humor and timing made him a standout performer. This talent was particularly evident during his Las Vegas performances, where he last performed in 2011.

A Legacy Remembered

Shecky Greene's legacy is one of laughter, resilience, and entertainment. He entertained audiences for decades, becoming an unforgettable part of American pop culture. His passing marks the end of an era in comedy. Greene is survived by his wife, Marie, and five children. His family, friends, and fans will remember him as a man who brought joy and laughter to countless lives.

  • His unique comedic style is characterized by flamboyant outfits and confetti-throwing antics, making him a standout performer.
  • Greene has played memorable roles in both television and film, showcasing his versatile acting skills.
  • He appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," demonstrating his popularity and talent.
  • Starting his career in Chicago nightclubs, he eventually established a lasting presence in the entertainment scene of Las Vegas.
  • Despite struggling with depression and substance abuse, he made a triumphant comeback, showing remarkable resilience.
  • He is survived by his wife, Marie Musso Greene, and children, leaving behind a loving family.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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