|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2012)|
April 20, 1929|
|Died||January 15, 2001
|Occupation||Television and radio host|
He was best known for The Bob Braun Show, which he hosted from 1967 to 1984. The show was the top-rated live entertainment/information program in the Midwest. Originating at WLWT, the daily 90-minute show was syndicated throughout the heartland of America, and featured a live band, singers, and special guests including Bob Hope (a frequent guest), Lucille Ball, Johnny Carson, Paul Lynde, Red Skelton, Phyllis Diller, Tom Dressen, and Dick Clark. Politicians including Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, John Glenn, and Ted Kennedy were also guests.
The Bob Braun Show replaced the local television show, The 50-50 Club. Its host, Ruth Lyons, retired in 1967 due to declining health. Braun had appeared regularly on the show since 1957, and was frequently a fill-in host. On his own show, Braun heavily promoted and supported Lyons' charity, "The Ruth Lyons Christmas Fund," each Christmas season. (The charity, now known as "The Ruth Lyons Children's Fund," remains in operation to this day.) Toward the end of its run, the show was renamed Braun and Company.
Regular cast members on The Bob Braun Show included Rob Reider, Mary Ellen Tanner, Nancy James, baritone Mark Preston (member of The Lettermen), and announcer/weatherman Bill Myers. Between 1970 and 1975, an entertainment critic for a Columbus, Ohio newspaper, Ron Pataky, visited Cincinnati every Friday to discuss on the show which movies were opening that weekend. The longtime director of The Bob Braun Show was Dick Murgatroyd, who years later became the county-judge executive of Kenton County, Kentucky.
Braun began his career at the age of thirteen with WSAI Radio, hosting a Saturday morning Knothole Baseball sports show. He joined WCPO-TV in 1949. In 1957, after winning the $1,000 top prize on television's Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts talent show, Braun was immediately hired by WLWT and WLW-AM. After cutting a handful of unsuccessful pop vocal recordings for labels such as Fraternity and Torch, Braun signed to Decca Records and charted his only Top 40 hit, "Till Death Do Us Part," in 1962. Braun later recorded for United Artists, but most of his subsequent recording efforts were released on small independent or vanity labels. In the mid-70s he briefly hosted a local game show called On The Money. Braun was one of Cincinnati's biggest TV stars until 1984, when he moved to California for ten years to do commercials, talk shows and small movie roles. During that time, he was most often seen as the spokesperson for Craftmatic Adjustable Beds and announcer for no-money-down real estate promoter Tony Hoffman (who later promoted consumer products) and also had a part in the Bruce Willis movie Die Hard 2: Die Harder.
In 1993, he was inducted into the Cincinnati Radio Hall of Fame. In March 1994, Braun left Hollywood and returned to WSAI Radio (by then featuring an adult standards musical format) as one of "The Sunrise Boys," working as the morning host alongside his nephew, "Bucks" Braun (himself a successful radio personality in nearby Dayton, Ohio) and newsman Don Herman. In June 1997, Mayor Roxanne Qualls and the entire City Council honored him with "Bob Braun Day in Cincinnati".
Braun died of Parkinson's and cancer in 2001 and was buried in Cincinnati's Spring Grove Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, Wray Jean, and three children: Rob, Doug, and Melissa. Rob now works at WKRC-TV as its primary news anchorman.
- Friedman, Jim (Dec 5, 2007). "Cincinnati Television". Arcadia Publishing. p. 12. Retrieved 2013-05-18.
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