Will Jordan

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Will Jordan
Born
Wilbur Rauch

July 27, 1927
Bronx, New York
Died (aged 91)
Manhattan, New York
OccupationActor, stand-up comedian

Will Jordan (born Wilbur Rauch, July 27, 1927 – September 6, 2018) was an American character actor and stand-up comedian best known for his resemblance—and ability to do uncanny impressions of—television host and newspaper columnist Ed Sullivan. Jordan was a friend of and early influence on comedian Lenny Bruce.

Early life[edit]

Born in the Bronx, Rauch grew up in Flushing, Queens.[1] His father was a pharmacist and his mother owned a hat store.[1] Jordan graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan.

Career[edit]

Sullivan had almost no mannerisms, which made him hard to impersonate. According to Jordan, he invented some funny mannerisms that Sullivan never had, like cracking his knuckles, spinning, and shaking back and forth. Jordan's early appearances mimicking Ed came on The Ed Sullivan Show.[2] In his act, Jordan came up with the catch-phrase, "Welcome to our Toast of the Town 'Shoooo'", which became a stereotypical joke for nearly every Sullivan impersonator after that, usually as the more generic "Really Big 'Shoooo'" (or "shoe").[3]

In virtually all of his film appearances since the 1970s, Jordan portrayed Sullivan in films that feature characters appearing on Sullivan's famous variety series such as I Wanna Hold Your Hand, which depicted the Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964.[4] Sullivan died in 1974. In 1983, Jordan appeared as Sullivan in the elaborately produced 60s-TV-style video for "Tell Her About It", the Billy Joel hit single.

Jordan impersonated Sullivan in the 2003 film Down with Love. Jordan appeared as Sullivan in the Broadway revival of the musical Bye Bye Birdie, which ran from October 15, 2009, through January 24, 2010. Jordan appeared in the original Broadway production in 1960-1961. He also participated in a recording project, called "The Sicknicks", with Sandy Baron. The pair produced a comedy single, "The Presidential Press Conference", which was a minor hit in 1961.

Jordan's other impressions include Bing Crosby, Groucho Marx and Jack Benny.[5]

Personal life and death[edit]

Jordan had a son, Lonnie Saunders.[1]

On September 6, 2018, writer Mark Evanier announced that Will Jordan had died at the age of 91 that morning. Jordan died at his home in Manhattan.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Will Jordan, Who Mimicked the Famous, Is Dead at 91 - The New York Times". Nytimes.com. 1927-07-27. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  2. ^ "The Ed Sullivan Show episode 125208".
  3. ^ A Party for Wences Archived 2006-09-09 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "IMDb filmography".
  5. ^ The Kopykats, episode broadcast 26 January 1972; Remember When special on Showtime, 1979

External links[edit]