Bert Convy

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Bert Convy
Bertconvy.jpg
Convy as substitute host on To Tell the Truth, 1968
Born Bernard Whalen Convy
(1933-07-23)July 23, 1933
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Died July 15, 1991(1991-07-15) (aged 57)
Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Brain tumor
Resting place Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery
Nationality American
Education North Hollywood High School
Alma mater UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television
Occupation Actor, game show host, singer
Years active 1958–1990
Spouse(s) Anne Anderson (m. 1959–91) (3 children)
Catherine Hills (m. 1991–91) (his death)
Children Jennifer Convy (b. 1960)
Joshua Convy (b. 1965)
Jonah Convy (b. 1968)

Bernard Whalen "Bert" Convy (July 23, 1933 – July 15, 1991)[1] was an American actor, singer, game show host and panelist known for his tenure as the host for Tattletales, Super Password, and Win, Lose or Draw.

Early life[edit]

Convy was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Monica (née Whalen) and Bernard Fleming Convy.[1][2] Convy's family moved to Los Angeles when he was seven years old. He later attended North Hollywood High School where he was an all-around athlete.[3] He was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies when he was just 17, playing two years of minor league baseball in 1951–52.[4] He later joined the 1950s vocal band The Cheers, who had a Top 10 hit in 1955 with "Black Denim Trousers And Motorcycle Boots".

Convy later attended UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television where he received a bachelor's degree.

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Convy started his career in the entertainment business as a featured performer and singer in the Billy Barnes Revues of the 1950s and 1960s. Bert portrayed a CBS usher on an Art Linkletter's House Party in 1956. He appeared in the 1961 Warner Brothers drama Susan Slade, playing Troy Donahue′s rival for the affections of Connie Stevens. Convy went on to become a Broadway actor, starring as Perchick in the original cast of Fiddler on the Roof (1964), appearing in The Impossible Years (1965) and creating the role of Cliff Bradshaw in Cabaret (1966). He also appeared in the Roger Corman film A Bucket of Blood, playing Lou Raby, and the soap opera Love of Life, playing Glenn Hamilton, a rapist.

Game shows[edit]

In the 1960s and 1970s, Convy was a popular semi-regular panelist on several game shows, including What′s My Line?, To Tell the Truth, Match Game (he would later star as the host of the pilot for Match Game '90 in 1989) and Password. He soon took the podium himself as host of several game shows, including the fourth edition of Password (called Super Password) (1984–1989) and Tattletales (1974–1978, 1982–1984), for which he was awarded an Emmy for Best Game Show Host in 1977.[5] In 1979, he appeared on Password Plus with fellow celebrity contestants such as Elizabeth Montgomery, Carol Burnett, Phyllis Diller, Judy Norton Taylor, Marcia Wallace and Elaine Joyce.

Convy and Burt Reynolds formed their own production company, Burt and Bert Productions, during the 1980s. Their first production was a game show based on Pictionary titled Win, Lose or Draw, which made its debut in 1987 as part of the NBC daytime lineup and in nightly syndication. Convy hosted the syndicated edition of Win, Lose or Draw for its first two seasons, then left the show to host another of his company's productions, the syndicated 3rd Degree.

Around the time that 3rd Degree was cancelled, Convy was called upon by Mark Goodson Productions again to host a week's worth of pilot episodes for a revival of Match Game that Goodson was attempting to sell to ABC.

Acting[edit]

He turned to acting full-time in 1956 and was in the musical The Billy Barnes Revue in Los Angeles before moving to New York. He appeared in 10 Broadway shows, including "Nowhere to Go but Up," Cabaret (originator of the role of Cliff, Sally Bowles' boyfriend), and The Impossible Years. He played the reporter Hildy Johnson in a 1969 Broadway revival of The Front Page, which starred Robert Ryan.[6] In the original Broadway cast of Fiddler on the Roof with Zero Mostel, Convy played Perchik the Student and sang "Now I Have Everything".[7]

In the 1960–1961 season, Convy guest starred on Pat O'Brien's short-lived ABC sitcom Harrigan and Son, as well as the ABC private detective show 77 Sunset Strip in the role of David. He was also cast on an episode of CBS' The Mary Tyler Moore Show as Mary's friend Jack Foster, alongside future Alice star Beth Howland. In 1973, Convy was a guest star in two episodes of Hawaii Five-O. Convy also guest starred in an episode of Perry Mason titled "The Case of the Nimble Nephew". He played Harry Thompson, the defendant.

In 1974, Convy portrayed Lt. Ostrowski, the police contact of elderly amateur sleuths in NBC's short-lived series The Snoop Sisters.

Convy attempted a short-lived variety series called The Late Summer Early Fall Bert Convy Show in 1976. In 1979, he appeared with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in their eponymous TV movie. Throughout his career, Convy was a frequent guest star on series such as Bewitched, Hawaii Five-O, The Partridge Family, Mission: Impossible, The Silent Force, The New Phil Silvers Show, Fantasy Island, Charlie′s Angels, and Murder, She Wrote (including the pilot episode). In 1983, Convy was cast as Neil Townsend on the ABC sitcom It's Not Easy, playing opposite Ken Howard. Convy had joined the project when it was recast after its intended premiere in the 1982–83 season was delayed; he earned the role originally given to Larry Breeding, who was killed in a car accident in September 1982 after the first pilot was shot.

Convy also starred in several movies, perhaps most memorably Semi-Tough (1977), in which he played a caricature of Werner Erhard named Friedrich Bismark. Other film credits included A Bucket of Blood (1959), Susan Slade (1961), French director Philippe de Broca's Les Caprices de Marie (1970), SST: Death Flight (1977), the horror film Jennifer (1978), Hanging by a Thread (1979), Racquet (1979) as a tennis star, The Man in the Santa Claus Suit (1979), Hero at Large (1980), The Cannonball Run (1981) as Bradford Compton, and the TV movie Help Wanted: Male (1982). Convy tried his hand at directing with the 1986 comedy Weekend Warriors. In 1980, Convy produced and directed the Goodspeed Opera House premiere of the musical Zapata, with music and lyrics by Harry Nilsson and Perry Botkin, Jr., and libretto by Allan Katz.

Personal life[edit]

Convy was married twice. He married Anne Anderson in 1959 with whom he had three children: Jennifer, Joshua, and Jonah. Convy and Anderson divorced in 1991. Convy married his second wife, Catherine Hills,[1] five months before his death.[3]

Death[edit]

In April 1990, Convy was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after collapsing while visiting his mother there, and was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme. The inoperable tumor forced him out of the role as Match Game host, which instead went to Ross Shafer.[5] On July 15, 1991, three days after the Match Game revival he would have hosted aired its final episode, Convy died at his home in Brentwood at the age of 57.[1][3] He is buried at Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles.[1][8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e State of California death certificate
  2. ^ Who's who in the Theatre - John Parker - Google Books. Retrieved 2012-10-30 – via Google Books. 
  3. ^ a b c "Bert Convy, 57; Actor, TV Game Show Host". The Los Angeles Times. AP. July 16, 1991. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Bert Convy Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  5. ^ a b "Bert Convy, 57, an Actor and Host of Television Game Shows, Dies". The New York Times. AP. July 16, 1991. Retrieved June 20, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Bert Convy, 57, an Actor and Host Of Television Game Shows, Dies". The New York Times. 16 July 1991. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  7. ^ "Fiddler on the Roof – Broadway Musical – Original - IBDB". ibdb.com, The Broadway League. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "Bert Convy (1933 - 1991) - Find A Grave Memorial". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Vacant
Title last held by
Tom Kennedy
as Host of Password Plus
Host of Super Password
1984–1989
Vacant
Title next held by
Regis Philbin
as Host of Million Dollar Password
New show Host of Win, Lose or Draw (syndicated edition)
1987–1989
Succeeded by
Robb Weller
Awards
Preceded by
Allen Ludden
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
1977
Succeeded by
Richard Dawson