Jan Murray

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For the Brookside character Jan Murray, see List of Brookside characters.
For the footballer, see Janice Murray (footballer).
Jan Murray
Jan Murray 1961
Murray in 1961
Born Murray Janofsky
(1916-10-04)October 4, 1916
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Died July 2, 2006(2006-07-02) (aged 89)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Resting place
Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, Culver City, California
Years active 1951–1989
Spouse(s) Pearl Cohen (1939–?; divorced; 2 children)
Kathleen (Toni) Mann (1949–2006; his death; 4 children)
Children Howard, Warren, Diane, and Celia; 8 eight grandchildren and 2 great-grandsons

Jan Murray (born Murray Janofsky; October 4, 1916 – July 2, 2006) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, and game show host who made his name on the Borscht Belt.

Early life[edit]

Murray was born in The Bronx borough of New York City. His interest in comedy began during his childhood, when he would often act out comedy routines he'd seen at the local theatre for his bedridden mother.


Murray began performing on the vaudeville stage at the age of 18, then later at the Catskills resorts popular with Jewish vacationers. In the early 1950s, he became a Las Vegas marquee performer. He then moved into television to host a number of game shows such as Blind Date (DuMont, 1953), Dollar a Second (1953–1957), his creation Treasure Hunt (1956–1959), Charge Account (also known as The Jan Murray Show, 1960–1962), and Chain Letter (1966). He was later a frequent panelist on The Hollywood Squares and co-hosted the annual West Coast Chabad Lubavitch telethon for many years. He once appeared as himself on the NBC police sitcom, Car 54, Where Are You?, set in New York City.[1] He also appeared in the final episode of the NBC situation comedy The Practice in 1977.

Murray's film appearances included A Man Called Dagger, Of Love and Desire, Thunder Alley, Tarzan and the Great River, Which Way to the Front?, and History of the World, Part I. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career and was a guest host of The Tonight Show on many occasions.

Personal life[edit]

Murray married Pearl Cohen in 1939, and had a child with her, but later divorced. In October 1949, he married Kathleen (Toni) Mann, had three children with her, and remained married to her until his death. Murray's production company, Jantone, took its name from their first names.

Murray was an ardent golfer and had many fellow comedian partners. Among them were Jack Carter, Jerry Lewis, Joey Bishop and others, from whom he created comedy routines often related at various golf charity events. He chaired the Comedians' Golf Classic for several years, held both in New York and California.

In 1997, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.[2] Murray retired from show business at the age of 83, as he felt his asthma was affecting his timing. He died at the age of 89 in Beverly Hills, California, on July 2, 2006. He was buried at the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.[3]


External links[edit]