Robert E. Braun
April 20, 1929
|Died||January 15, 2001 (aged 71)|
|Occupation||Television and radio host|
|Known for||The Bob Braun Show|
|Children||Rob, Doug, and Melissa|
He was best known for The Bob Braun Show, which he hosted from 1967 to 1984 on the daytime schedule five days a week. The show had the highest Arbitron and Nielsen ratings of any live entertainment/information program in the Midwest. Originating at WLWT, the 90-minute show originally was syndicated to three other cities in the Midwest. Eventually, more television stations joined the line-up. Braun's show 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 Dreesen, and Dick Clark. Politicians including Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, John Glenn, and Ted Kennedy were also guests.
The local Cincinnati television show titled The 50-50 Club had occupied the time slot that Braun eventually filled. The 50-50 Club hostess, Ruth Lyons, retired in 1967 due to declining health. Braun had appeared regularly on The 50-50 Club show since 1957, and frequently had been 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.) Some years after Braun took over the show, the title was changed from The 50-50 Club to The Bob Braun Show. (An ad in a 1969 issue of TV Guide identifies it as Bob Braun's 50-50 Club.) Toward the end of its run in the 1980s, it 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. Beginning with the telecast on the daytime schedule of Friday, June 7, 1968, an entertainment critic for a Columbus, Ohio newspaper, Ron Pataky, visited Cincinnati every Friday to discuss on Braun's television show which movies were playing in cinemas that weekend. Pataky continued making his Friday appearances until 1973. The longtime director of The 50-50 Club, Bob Braun's 50-50 Club and The Bob Braun Show was Dick Murgatroyd, who years later became the county-judge executive of Kenton County, Kentucky.
The Department of Photographs and Films at the Cincinnati Museum Center has videotapes of The Bob Braun Show and Braun and Company that were preserved starting in 1982. All episodes of Braun's daytime show that were telecast prior to 1982 were lost because of wiping. Evidently, in 1969, Braun did a prime-time special on which Nick Clooney and his young son George were guests. George talked on-camera about his recent tonsillectomy, and that broadcast was preserved.
Bob 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-1970s 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 controversial no-money-down real estate promoter Tony Hoffman, who later produced and marketed a recorded interview with O. J. Simpson. Braun also had a part in the Bruce Willis movie Die Hard 2.
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 retired on November 24, 1999, after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. His show business career had spanned a half century. He was replaced on WSAI by Nick Clooney.
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.
- The Skin (1981) - (uncredited)
- Die Hard 2 (1990) - Newscaster (WZDC)
- Defending Your Life (1991) - Talk Show Host
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- Friedman, Jim (2007). Cincinnati Television. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 9780738551692. OCLC 630559965.
- Adams, Greg (2014-02-07). "Bob Braun: A discography". Music Weird. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
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- "Simpson Invites Grilling -- For A Profit". The Free Library. Los Angeles Daily News. February 17, 1996. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- Rosen, Jody (2019-06-25). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-06-28.