Marty Allen

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Marty Allen
Allen in 1960
Birth nameMorton David Alpern
Born(1922-03-23)March 23, 1922
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedFebruary 12, 2018(2018-02-12) (aged 95)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
MediumStand-up, television, film acting
Years active1950–2018
Lorraine "Frenchy" Trydelle
(m. 1960; died 1976)
(m. 1984)
WebsiteOfficial website
(archived August 22, 2009)

Morton David Alpern (March 23, 1922 – February 12, 2018), better known as Marty Allen, was an American comedian, actor, and philanthropist. He worked as a comedy headliner in nightclubs, as a dramatic actor in television roles, and was once called "The Darling of Daytime TV". He also appeared in films, notably the 1966 spy comedy The Last of the Secret Agents?. During his comedy career, Allen also toured military hospitals, and performed for veterans and for active military personnel.

Allen was also a philanthropist. He contributed to the American Cancer Society, The Heart Fund, the March of Dimes, and the Fight for Sight, and he served on the board of the Epilepsy Foundation.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Allen was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Jewish parents. His father was Louis Alpern (1898–1977, from Romania/Russia), a restaurant and bar owner,[3] and his mother was Elsie Moss Alpern (1901–1979).[citation needed]

He graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School in 1940. He was inducted into their alumni Hall of Fame in 2009.[4]

Allen joined the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He was stationed in Italy, where he attained the rank of sergeant. He earned a Soldier's Medal for stopping a fire in a plane that was being refueled. He saved the lives of the men boarding the burning plane by driving the fuel truck away, returning on foot to the plane, and then putting out the fire by rolling over the flames with his body in uniform. His actions were later honored with a full-dress parade.[5]


Marty Allen dancing with Betty Ford.

During the early 1950s, Allen and his first comedy partner, Mitch DeWood, worked as an opening act for such stars as Sarah Vaughan, Eydie Gormé, and Nat King Cole.[1] Allen and DeWood also worked many clubs, including the Copacabana until they broke up in 1958 and went their separate ways.[6]

He then became part of the comedy team of Allen & Rossi with Steve Rossi, which resulted in a string of hit comedy albums, 44 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show (including the famous appearance by The Beatles on February 16, 1964,[3] during which Allen won over the Beatles fans in the audience by announcing "I'm Ringo's mother!"),[7] and the film The Last of the Secret Agents? (1966).[8] They worked together from 1957 to 1968, then parted ways amicably. Allen and Rossi reunited for shows from the 1970s through the 1990s.[9]

In 1961 and 1962, Allen appeared on Broadway in Let It Ride! at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre and then went on to perform in the pre-Broadway tour and Broadway performances of I Had a Ball in 1964.[2]

He eventually began performing dramatic roles. His debut as a serious actor came on The Big Valley television series as the hapless Waldo Diefendorfer.[10] Throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s, he made hundreds of television appearances, becoming a regular on The Hollywood Squares.[9] He appeared on Circus of the Stars, in a cameo on The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, on game shows such as Password, and in ten made-for-television movies.[8][2] He also appeared in theatrical films such as The Great Waltz (1972), Harrad Summer (1974) and A Whale of a Tale (1976).[2][8][9]

From the 1980s, he and his second wife, singer-songwriter Karon Kate Blackwell, teamed up to perform their musical comedy act to audiences around the country.[8] In 2007, the duo began performing at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and went on to perform at the Southpoint Casino, at Palace Station, and on cruise ships.[11] In 2015, the couple continued to perform in venues around the country to overflow crowds, at the Rampart Casino[12] and the Downtown Grand in Las Vegas.[13] In 2016, they performed at the Metropolitan Room in New York City.[14]

In February 2015, Allen was the guest on episode 574 of the podcast WTF with Marc Maron.[15][16][17]

Charitable work[edit]

In 1968, he made a "Hello Dere" tour of military hospitals in the United States (a tour named after a catchphrase he popularized).[2] He repeated the tour annually until 1972.[9] During the tours, he talked with and entertained wounded soldiers who had just returned from Vietnam.[1]

He was also involved in a number of charitable causes, including the American Cancer Society, The Heart Fund, March of Dimes, Fight for Sight, Cerebral Palsy, and was on the board of the Epilepsy Foundation.[1][2]

Personal life[edit]

Allen met Lorraine "Frenchy" Trydelle when she was the reservation and office manager of the Concord Resort Hotel in the Catskills.[18] They were married from 1960 until her death from cancer in 1976.[19]

In 1983, he met his second wife, Karon Kate Blackwell, at a Los Angeles restaurant she was managing. She had prior success as a piano player and songwriter, but had gotten out of show business.[20] The two became friends, then started dating and performing together. They married on June 17, 1984, at the home of writer Sidney Sheldon in Beverly Hills, California.[21] They settled in Las Vegas.[22]


On February 12, 2018, Allen died at the age of 95 of complications from pneumonia.[23] His death was at his home in Las Vegas, with wife Karon Kate Blackwell by his side.[9] His interment was at Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.[24]




  1. ^ a b c d "Comedian Marty Allen Dies at 95". Fox News. February 2018. Archived from the original on February 13, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Marty Allen, Wild-Eyed Comedian, Dies at 95". The New York Times. February 13, 2018. Archived from the original on February 13, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Schudel, Matt (February 13, 2018). "Marty Allen, fuzzy-haired member of popular 1960s comedy duo Allen & Rossi, dies at 95". The Washington Post.
  4. ^ Hecht, Steve (August 27, 2009). "Comedian Marty Allen part of Allderdice's first hall class". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on August 30, 2013. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  5. ^ "Both Sides of Marty Allen" (PDF). The Jewish Reporter. Las Vegas. May 22, 2009. p. 30. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved July 1, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^ "Marty Allen, Comedian and Game Show Regular, Dies at 95". MSN. Archived from the original on February 13, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2018. {{cite journal}}: Unknown parameter |agency= ignored (help)
  7. ^ Nachman, Gerald (2010). "Inside the Star-Making Machine". Right Here On Our Stage Tonight: Ed Sullivan's America. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-0520268012.
  8. ^ a b c d "Comedian Marty Allen Dies in Las Vegas at 95". The Washington Post. Associated Press. February 13, 2018. Archived from the original on February 13, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Comedian Marty Allen dies in Las Vegas at 95". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. February 12, 2018. Archived from the original on February 13, 2018.
  10. ^ "Allmovie Database". Archived from the original on September 17, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  11. ^ "An Interview with Marty Allen". Classic Showbiz. May 24, 2011. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011.
  12. ^ "Legendary Comedian Marty Allen Performs at Rampart Casino, April 17". April 16, 2015. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  13. ^ Stapleton, Susan (March 5, 2015). "Comedian Marty Allen celebrates his 93rd birthday with two Vegas shows". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016.
  14. ^ Thomas, Nick (March 17, 2016). "Marty Allen's still making 'em laugh". The Spectrum & Daily News. St. George, Utah.
  15. ^ "Episode 574 – Marty Allen". WTF with Marc Maron Podcast. February 5, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2022.
  16. ^ WTF with Marc Maron 2015x574 "Marty Allen", retrieved July 8, 2022
  17. ^ "Mixcloud". Retrieved July 8, 2022.
  18. ^ Frommer, Myrna Katz; Frommer, Harvey (2009). It Happened in the Catskills. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-1438427652 – via Google Books.
  19. ^ Apone, Carl (January 20, 1963). "Jester from Squirrel Hill". The Pittsburgh Press.
  20. ^ Macy, Robert (January 1, 1998). "Marty Allen and wife". AP NEWS. The Associated Press. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  21. ^ "Marrying". Detroit Free Press. May 3, 1984. p. 12D – via
  22. ^ Lett, Mary (January 7, 2015). "Ellisville native hits high notes with comedian husband". USA TODAY, Gannett Co., Inc. Hattiesburg American. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  23. ^ Koseluk, Chris (February 12, 2018). "Marty Allen, Zany Comedian With a Crazy Hairdo, Dies at 95". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  24. ^ "Marty Allen Obituary – Mission Hills, CA". Dignity Memorial. Retrieved November 17, 2019.

External links[edit]