The more manic half of the popular comedy duo Allen and Rossi, Marty Allen's childlike presence and unfettered energy made him a favorite among comedy fans and television viewers for more than a half-century until his death at the age of 95 in 2018. Born Morton David Alpern on March 23, 1922 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he initially intended to pursue a career in journalism, which was his major at the University of Southern California, but instead became a comedian on the nightclub circuit in his hometown. Allen joined the Army Air Force during World War II and served until his discharge in 1947, after which he resumed his comedy career. He partnered with several fellow comics before earning his first big break as a duo act with Mitch DeWood; together, the pair opened for such nationally recognized music performers as Sarah Vaughn and Nat "King" Cole. When Allen and DeWood decided to amicably part in 1958, it was Cole that suggested California-based singer Steve Rossi as a new partner to Allen. Their teaming proved wildly successful, with Rossi proving a capable crooner and straight man to Allen's wild-eyed, seemingly unhinged clown, who uttered his catch phrase - "Hello dere!" - to the delight of audiences. For much of the 1960s, Allen and Rossi was a staple of clubs and casinos across the United States, as well as countless appearances on television panel and variety shows, including the now-legendary "Ed Sullivan Show" (CBS, 1948-1971) that featured the Beatles. Buoyed by their small screen popularity, Allen and Rossi decided to follow in the footsteps of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis and before them, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, and transition to features. However, their film debut, "The Last of the Secret Agents?" (1966), was savaged by critics, and the duo parted within two years' time. For Allen, who had made his stage debut without Rossi in the 1961 Broadway musical "Let It Ride," the transition was relatively smooth, and he continued to make television audiences laugh as a guest star on talk and game shows, including a lengthy run on "The Hollywood Squares" (NBC/Syndicated, 1966-2004). During this period, he also took occasional acting roles, most notably as a ranch hand plagued by bad luck on a 1968 episode of "The Big Valley" (NBC, 1965-69). In 1983, Allen reunited with Rossi for what was described as a lifetime contract with the Vegas World and Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, but their run there ran for only four years, and by the late 1980s, Allen and Rossi had parted for good. Undaunted, Allen crafted a musical comedy act with his wife, the singer Karon Kate Blackwell, and the pair toured the country at a pace that belied their age. He continued to perform well into his mid-90s until complications from pneumonia led to his death at the age of 95 on February 12, 2018.
Cast (Feature Film)
Began performing with Steve Rossi in a comedy/music act
Appeared on the "Ed Sullivan Show" with the Beatles
Co-starred in the comedy feature "Last of the Secret Agents?"
Allen and Rossi reunite for a four-year stint in Las Vegas
Provided a vocal performance for a video game, "The Vanishing of Ethan Carter," that proved to be his last screen credit