Bob Elliott (comedian)

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Bob Elliott
Bob Elliott.JPG
Elliott on Monitor in 1960.
Born Robert Brackett Elliott
(1923-03-26)March 26, 1923
Winchester, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died February 2, 2016(2016-02-02) (aged 92)
Cundy Harbor, Maine, U.S.
Cause of death Throat cancer
Occupation Actor, comedian
Years active 1951–2008
Spouse(s)
  • Jane Underwood (m. 1943–53)
  • Lee Peppers (m. 1954; d. 2012)
Children 5

Robert Brackett "Bob" Elliott (March 26, 1923 – February 2, 2016) was an American actor and comedian, one-half of the comedy duo of Bob and Ray. He was the father of comedian/actor Chris Elliott and grandfather of actress and comedian Abby Elliott. He is most remembered by the character of Wally Ballou, a mild-mannered, but indefatigable radio reporter.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Elliott was born in Winchester, Massachusetts,[2] the son of Gail Marguarite (née Brackett),[3] a needleworker, and Fred Russell Elliott, who worked in insurance.[4] On radio, he appeared in programs with his long-time partner Ray Goulding. These were in different series and time slots over decades, beginning in the late 1940s at Boston's WHDH radio when the two were first paired for Matinee with Bob and Ray.[5] The team’s ersatz advertisements included exhortations on behalf of the Monongahela Metal Foundry (“Steel ingots cast with the housewife in mind”), Einbinder Flypaper (“The flypaper you’ve gradually grown to trust over the course of three generations”) and Height Watchers International.[1]

"The funniest people in this country, these guys are also two of the keenest observers of the American scene and the finest interviewers in the business."[6]

David Letterman said of the duo prior to one interview.
Bob and Ray in a publicity photo with Tedi Thurman for Monitor, where all were program regulars

Elliot appeared on radio with Garrison Keillor in The American Radio Company of the Air.[1] On television, Elliott and Goulding hosted Bob and Ray show from 1951 to 1953. He appeared on a number of other television programs, including Happy Days; Newhart; and Bob & Ray, Jane, Laraine & Gilda in 1979 (with Goulding, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner); The David Steinberg Show; and Saturday Night Live.[6] In 1982, Elliot was in Author! Author! as Patrick Dicker.[7][8][9][10][11][12] He would star in made-for-TV-Movie's such as Between Time and Timbuktu and FDR: A One Man Show. Elliot made television commercials just as Goulding and Elliot had years earlier when they provided the voices for Bert and Harry Piel, the animated spokesmen for a New York brewing company.[1]

In 1970, the duo debuted in The Two and Only on Broadway.[13] Bob and Goulding worked together up until Goulding’s death in 1990.[13] In 1990, Elliot portrayed a bank guard in Quick Change.[14] In 1990, he portrayed "Fred Peterson" in the television series Get a Life, which starred Chris as his son. Four years later, the elder Elliott appeared in the Tim Burton production Cabin Boy, playing Chris' father again. In 2004, he appeared in a skit on the Air America radio program The O'Franken Factor.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Elliott married Jane Underwood in 1943. They divorced in 1953 having no children.[1] Bob and Ray writer Raymond Knight died in 1953.[16] In 1954, he married Knight's widow, Lee Elliott (née Peppers).[17] They were married for 58 years until her death in 2012.[17] They had two sons together, Chris Elliott and Bob Elliott Jr., and one daughter, Amy Andersen.[5][17] They adopted two children, Colony Elliott Santangelo and Shannon Elliott.[5] They had 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.[5] In 1987, his oldest granddaughter, Abby Elliott, was born.[18] Abby and her younger sister Bridget (nicknamed "Bridey") were raised in Wilton, Connecticut.[19] In 1989, Elliott co-authored son Chris's mock autobiography, Daddy's Boy: A Son's Shocking Account of Life with a Famous Father.[20]

Death[edit]

Elliott died in Cundy's Harbor, Maine on February 2, 2016, from throat cancer at the age of 92.[1]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1959 Test Dive Buddies Bob Short film directed by Ed Graham Jr.
1960 Kid Gloves Bob Short film directed by Ed Graham Jr.
1971 Cold Turkey Hugh Upson/David Chetley/Sandy Van Andy Satirical comedy film directed by Norman Lear.
1980 Vengeance Luke Directed and written by Bob Bliss.
1981 B.C.: A Special Christmas Peter (voice) American animated short film directed by Vlad Goetzelman.
1982 Author! Author! Patrick Dicker American comedy drama film directed by Arthur Hiller and written by Israel Horovitz.
1984 Kidco Policeman #2 Comedy film directed by Ronald F. Maxwell.
1987 The Gnomes' Great Adventure Fred
1990 Quick Change Bank Guard
  • Crime comedy film written by Howard Franklin, produced by and starring Bill Murray, and directed by both.
  • Despite not being a major commercial success, the film was well received critically.
1994 Cabin Boy William Mayweather

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1951–53 Bob and Ray Co-Host 15-minute television series on NBC.
1972 Between Time and Timbuktu Bud Williams, Jr.
1976 The David Steinberg Show Guest Episode: "Episode #1.1 (Pilot)"
1978 Saturday Night Live Interviewer Episode: "Elliott Gould/Peter Tosh"
1979 Happy Days Gil Crawford Episode: "Here Comes the Bride, Again"
1981 The Steve Allen Comedy Hour Guest Episode: "Episode #1.22"
1985 Trapper John, M.D. Zeke Rainey Episode: "A False Start"
1986 Action Family The Vendor
1987 FDR: A One Man Show Make-Up Man
  • Made-for-TV-Movie
  • Directed by Matt Wickline.
1988 Coming of Age Guest Episode: "Hale to the Chief"
Newhart Bill Loudon Episode: "I Came, I Saw, I Sat"
1990–92 Get a Life Fred Peterson Contract role
1999 LateLine Wally Van Horn Episode: "The Minister of Television"
2008 King of the Hill Edgar Hornsby Episode: "Square-Footed Monster"

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Keepnews, Peter; Severo, Richard (February 3, 2016). "Bob Elliott, of Bob and Ray Comedy Fame, Dies at 92". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  2. ^ McLLellan, Dennis (February 3, 2016). "Bob Elliott, half of legendary radio-comedy team Bob and Ray, dies". The Seattle Times. The Seattle Times Company. Retrieved February 4, 2016. 
  3. ^ Chance, Norman (2011). Who Was Who on TV, Volume 1. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 978-1-4568-2128-9. 
  4. ^ "Fred Russell Elliott". Ancestry.com. Permira and co-investors. Retrieved February 4, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d Bernstein, Adam (February 3, 2016). "Bob Elliott, master satirist of radio fame, dies at 92". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings LLC. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Kreps, Daniel (February 3, 2016). "Bob Elliott, 'Bob and Ray' Comedian, Dead at 92". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. Retrieved February 4, 2016. 
  7. ^ Bennetts, Leslie (January 24, 1982). "Author! Author! Shoots in N.Y., N.Y.". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  8. ^ Chase, Chris (July 2, 1982). "The author of Author! Author!". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  9. ^ Scott, Jay (June 19, 1982). "Author! Author! Just a Mish-Mash of Mush". Globe and Mail. The Woodbridge Company. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  10. ^ Kroll, Jack (July 5, 1982). "Kingdom of Cute". Newsweek. Newsweek LLC. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  11. ^ Arnold, Gary (June 19, 1982). "Al Pacino on the Writer's Block". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings LLC. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  12. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0. 
  13. ^ a b Bacle, Ariana (February 3, 2016). "Comedian Bob Elliott dies at 92". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved February 4, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Quick Change". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. July 13, 1990. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  15. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507678-8. 
  16. ^ "Raymond Knight". LA Times. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  17. ^ a b c The New York Times Staff (April 29, 2012). "ELLIOTT, LEE K". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  18. ^ Zuckerman, Ed (November 11, 2009). "A Professionally Funny Family". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Happy Birthday To Wilton's Abigail 'Abby' Elliott". wilton.dailyvoice.com. June 16, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  20. ^ Elliot, Chris; Elliot, Bob (1989). Daddy's Boy: A Son's Shocking Account of Life with a Famous Father. Dell Publishing. ISBN 978-0385297301. 
  21. ^ Crain, Zac (November 25, 1999). "Handsome Dan, Automator Man". Miami New Times. Voice Media Group. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Bob Elliott at Wikimedia Commons