Hal March

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Hal March
HalmarchBW.jpg
Born
Harold Mendelson

(1920-04-22)April 22, 1920
DiedJanuary 19, 1970(1970-01-19) (aged 49)
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active1944–1969
Spouse(s)Candy Toxton aka "Susan Perry"
(1956–1970; his death)
Children3

Hal March (born Harold Mendelson;[1] April 22, 1920 – January 19, 1970) was an American comedian and actor.

Early career[edit]

In 1944, March first came to note as part of a comedy team with Bob Sweeney. The duo had their own radio show for a time, performing in the early 1950s as "Sweeney & March."

March co-starred as Harry Morton on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show on the NBC and CBS radio networks from the mid-1940s until 1950. When the show switched to television that year, he continued in the role until the middle of the season, in 1951. During the next few seasons, he appeared occasionally in various guest roles on the show.

March and Mary Jane Croft co-starred in Too Many Cooks, a summer replacement program on CBS radio in 1950. The comedy centered on Douglas and Carrie Cook and their 10 children.[2]

He went on to appear on such shows as The Imogene Coca Show, I Love Lucy, and Willy. In the summer of 1955, March joined John Dehner and Tom D'Andrea in the 11-episode NBC summer series, The Soldiers, a military comedy produced and directed by Bud Yorkin.[citation needed] D'Andrea temporarily left the William Bendix sitcom The Life of Riley for this chance at his own series.[citation needed]

He was the Mystery Guest on the October 9, 1955 episode of What's My Line? He was guessed by Bennett Cerf.[3]

The $64,000 Question[edit]

March was arguably best known as the host of The $64,000 Question, which he helmed from 1955 to 1958. In addition to his hosting duties, March also sang a version of the show's theme music in 1956, titled "Love Is the Sixty-Four Thousand Dollar Question."[4]

As a result of the quiz show scandals, the show was canceled, and with the exception of a few film roles such as Hear Me Good and Send Me No Flowers, March was largely out of work for nearly a decade.

Later career[edit]

To keep busy, March continued to appear in guest-starring roles, even starring in a 1961 unsold television pilot for a comedy titled I Married a Dog, in which his life was constantly upset by his wife's pooch. He appeared in several sitcoms in 1966 that are still widely rerun today. Among these are a role as the father of Gidget's boyfriend Jeff in the Gidget episode "In and Out with the In-Laws" and the head of corrupt dance studio in The Monkees episode "Dance Monkee, Dance." He also made appearances in the sitcoms Hey, Landlord and The Lucy Show as well as in the film A Guide for the Married Man.[citation needed]

In 1961, he played the lead in Neil Simon's first Broadway play "Come Blow Your Horn," a hit that ran 677 performances.

Death[edit]

March's career took a turn for the better in July 1969 when he began hosting the game show It's Your Bet. After completing approximately 13 weeks of taping, however, he complained of exhaustion. Tests revealed that he had lung cancer, the result of years of chain smoking. March died in January 1970 in Los Angeles at age 49, and is buried in Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery.

Accolades[edit]

March was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for his radio work at 1560 Vine Street, and another for his work in television at 6536 Hollywood Boulevard.

Personal life[edit]

March was married in 1956 to Candy Toxton. Toxton had two children, Steve March-Tormé and Melissa Tormé, from her previous marriage to Mel Tormé. Although he did not legally adopt them, March was stepfather to Steve and Melissa, and went on to have three more children with Candy: Peter, Jeffrey, and Victoria.

His grandson Hunter March hosted the game show Emogenius.[5] He also hosts the Netflix series Sugar Rush and E! TV's Nightly Pop.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1949 Champion Mobster Uncredited
1949 The Story of Molly X Max Hayden Uncredited
1950 Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town Detective Mike Eskow
1950 Outrage Detective Sergeant Hendrix
1953 Combat Squad Henry Gordon
1953 The Eddie Cantor Story Gus Edwards
1954 Yankee Pasha Hassan Sendar
1954 The Atomic Kid Agent Ray
1955 It's Always Fair Weather Rocky Heldon Uncredited
1955 My Sister Eileen Pete - First Drunk
1957 Hear Me Good Marty Holland
1964 Send Me No Flowers Winston Burr
1967 A Guide for the Married Man Technical Adviser (Man who loses coat)

References[edit]

  1. ^ David Baber (June 14, 2015). Television Game Show Hosts: Biographies of 32 Stars. McFarland. ISBN 9781476604800. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  2. ^ Crosby, John (August 14, 1950). "Radio in Review". The Evening Review. p. 10. Retrieved March 24, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  3. ^ "What's My Line (Oct 9, 1955)". 1955. Archived from the original on December 22, 2021. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  4. ^ "Sixty-four dollar question". Everything2.com. May 10, 2004. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  5. ^ "Hunter March to Host GSN's New Emoji-Solving Game Show EMOGENIUS, 6/7". BWW. May 4, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017.

External links[edit]