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Also Known As: Thomas Garrison Morfit Died: November 28, 1993
Born: January 31, 1915 Cause of Death: emphysema
Birth Place: Baltimore, Maryland, USA Profession: TV host, actor, announcer, radio writer, sports commentator

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

"There is something durably unremarkable about me", Garry Moore once said, modestly evaluating his remarkable longevity as game and variety show host and comedian over the course of almost three decades on the small screen. Compact in size and genial in manner, Moore began on the radio as a writer and performer while still a teenager. He achieved success on local radio shows in his native Baltimore, St. Louis and Chicago before enjoying almost five years of success teamed with Jimmy Durante in the mid-40s.Moving into TV during its earliest days, Moore quickly became one of its most popular and easily recognized personalities, famous for his wide-eyed expression, perennial buzzed haircut, and bow ties. The variety format of "The Garry Moore Show", whose talented cast of regulars included at various times Dorothy Loudon, Ken Carson, Marion Lorne and Moore's most durable sidekick, announcer Durward Kirby, proved popular from 1950 until 1964. It was this show which first highlighted Moore's most important star discovery, Carol Burnett, who joined the gang for a number of seasons. Running concurrently during much of this time was the popular CBS game show "I've Got a Secret", in which Moore hosted a...

"There is something durably unremarkable about me", Garry Moore once said, modestly evaluating his remarkable longevity as game and variety show host and comedian over the course of almost three decades on the small screen. Compact in size and genial in manner, Moore began on the radio as a writer and performer while still a teenager. He achieved success on local radio shows in his native Baltimore, St. Louis and Chicago before enjoying almost five years of success teamed with Jimmy Durante in the mid-40s.

Moving into TV during its earliest days, Moore quickly became one of its most popular and easily recognized personalities, famous for his wide-eyed expression, perennial buzzed haircut, and bow ties. The variety format of "The Garry Moore Show", whose talented cast of regulars included at various times Dorothy Loudon, Ken Carson, Marion Lorne and Moore's most durable sidekick, announcer Durward Kirby, proved popular from 1950 until 1964. It was this show which first highlighted Moore's most important star discovery, Carol Burnett, who joined the gang for a number of seasons. Running concurrently during much of this time was the popular CBS game show "I've Got a Secret", in which Moore hosted a celebrity panel which attempted to determine a mystery guest's secret.

"The Garry Moore Show" began losing ground in the mid-1960s and was cancelled; a later attempt several seasons later was not successful, but Moore soon rebounded with another long-running game show hit, "To Tell the Truth" (syndicated, 1969-76). Similar in format to "I've Got a Secret", this program featured a celebrity panel who tried to guess which of three guests really was the remarkable person Moore described to them at the show's outset. Eight seasons of the program and the advent of illness brought Moore's career to an end. Throughout, Moore possessed the supreme quality needed for success on TV--an unforced likability--combined with a keen eye for talent which gave starts to John Byner, Alan King, Don Knotts, Jonathan Winters, Alan Funt's "Candid Camera" and other staples of network TV. Whatever he did, his popularity was undeniable: in the early 1960s Moore was TV's highest paid performer, earning $2.2 million a year.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Opening Night (1962)
2.
 Right Man, The (1960) Host
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1934:
Quit high school to work in radio; began as a continuity writer for station WBAL; later also acted on the air 9date approximate)
1939:
Worked as an announcer and sports commentator for KWK in St. Louis
:
Was a writer and star comedian for the NBC radio show "Club Matinee" in Chicago
:
Performed on the New York radio show, "Everything Goes"
:
Found fame when he teamed up with Jimmy Durante on the radio for "The Jimmy Durante-Garry Moore Show"
:
Emceed "Take It or Leave It"
:
Emceed "Breakfast in Hollywood"
1949:
Starred on "The Garry Moore Show" on CBS radio
1950:
"The Garry Moore Show" transferred to CBS-TV; regulars included Ken Carson, Denise Lor and announcer Durward Kirby
:
Hosted the popular CBS quiz show, "I've Got a Secret"; when he left the show, former panelist Steve Allen took over as host until the show went off the air in 1967
1958:
"The Garry Moore Show" changed slightly; new regulars added included Carol Burnett, Dorothy Loudon, Ron Martin and Marion Lorne
1964:
"The Garry Moore Show" went off the air as other shows began to attract the younger portion of the TV viewing audience
:
Sailed around the world
:
"The Garry Moore Show" returned to the air with a number of the same regulars and adding others including John Byner and Ron Carey, but was canceled in mid-season; lost its time slot to the immensely popular Western series, "Bonanza"
:
Hosted the syndicated game show, "To Tell the Truth"
1977:
Left TV after diagnosed with throat cancer
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Moore was always mildly surprised by his own formidable success on TV. He always considered his role on the long-running "The Garry Moore Show" to be "merely" that of a "pointer", introducing one comedy skit or musical act after another. Moore never considered such "guiding" to be difficult: "A dog could do the same thing if you smeared meat on the actors." (quoted in "People", 12/13/93)

"Garry Moore was one of those people who could look into the camera and you felt he was talking just to you." --Carol Burnett (quoted in "People", 12/13/93)

Moore was elected to the TV Academy Hall of Fame.

He was selected by TV editors of U.S. as best master of ceremonies on TV (1957, 1958)

Moore was national chairman to the National Society for Crippled Children and Adults (1959)

He was a board of governors member to the National Hospital for Speech Disorders.

Moore was a former member of the board of governors for the National Academy of TV, Art and Sciences.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Eleanor Borum Little. Married on June 5, 1939; died in August 1974; mother of Moore's two sons.
wife:
Mary Elizabeth Moore. Second wife; married on January 16, 1975; survived him.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Mason Pitner Morfit.
mother:
Mary Louise Morfit.
son:
Thomas Garrison Morfit Jr. Survived him.
son:
John Mason Morfit. Survived him.
brother:
Henry Mason Morfit. Survived him.
sister:
Penny Brede Horn. Survived him.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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