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Alan King

Alan King

Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1927-12-26

29 Movies · 5 TV Series

Biography

Alan King (born Irwin Alan Kniberg; December 26, 1927 – May 9, 2004) was an American actor and comedian known for his biting wit and often angry humorous rants. King became well known as a Jewish comedian and satirist. He was also a serious actor who appeared in a number of movies and television shows. King wrote several books, produced films, and appeared in plays. In later years, he helped many philanthropic causes.

Personal Life

Throughout his life, King was deeply involved in charity work. He founded the Alan King Medical Center in Jerusalem, raised funds for the Nassau Center for Emotionally Disturbed Children (near his home in Kings Point, New York), and established a chair in dramatic arts at Brandeis University. He also created the Laugh Well program, which sends comedians to hospitals to perform for patients. In the 1970s, King turned his passion for tennis into a pro tournament at Caesars Palace Las Vegas called the Alan King Tennis Classic, which was carried on national TV by the TVS Television Network. He also started the Toyota Comedy Festival. Death. King, who smoked cigars heavily (a fact that came up in his routines from time to time), died at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan on May 9, 2004, from lung cancer. He was buried in Mount Hebron Cemetery in Flushing, Queens. The movie Christmas with the Kranks was dedicated to his memory at the end of the credits before the 1492 Pictures logo. He is also referred to in the end credits of Rush Hour 3. He was survived by his wife—appropriately a theme of one of his most famous routines—Jeanette Sprung, whom he married in 1947, and their three children.

Early Life

King was born in New York City, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants Minnie (née Solomon) and Bernard Kniberg, a handbag cutter; he had one sister, Anita Kniberg. He spent his first years on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Later, King's family moved to Brooklyn. King used humor to survive in the tough neighborhoods. As a child, King performed impersonations on street corners for pennies. When he was fourteen, King performed "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" on the radio program Major Bowes Amateur Hour. He lost first prize, but was invited to join a nationwide tour. At fifteen, King dropped out of high school to perform comedy at the Hotel Gradus in the Catskill Mountains. After one joke that made fun of the hotel's owner, King was fired; however, he spent the remainder of that summer and the one that followed as M.C. at Forman's New Prospect Hotel in Mountaindale, New York. He later worked in Canada in a burlesque house while also fighting as a professional boxer. He won twenty straight fights before losing. Nursing a broken nose, King decided to quit boxing and focus on his comedy career. King began working as a doorman at the popular nightclub Leon and Eddie's while performing comedy under the last name of the boxer who beat him, "King".

Movies & TV Series

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