Billy Gray (comedian)

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Billy Gray (born William Victor Giventer,[1] March 17, 1904, New York City, New York – January 4, 1978, Los Angeles, California) was an American comedian, comedy club owner and an actor. He was studying law when he won a dance contest, and decided to enter show business instead. Gray was the onetime owner of the Band Box, a comedy club at 123 North Fairfax Avenue,[2] in Los Angeles, which was previously owned by Lou Costello.[1] Among the performers were Max Rosenbloom, Buddy Hackett, Polly Bergen, Alan King, Billy Barty, Don Rickles and Jackie Gleason.

Billy Gray was featured in two films: he played the Yiddish-speaking agent of Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in Billy Wilder's famous comedy Some Like It Hot (1959) and appeared in Two for the Seesaw (1962) with Robert Mitchum, as Mr. Jacoby.[3] He also appeared in a 1966 episode of the TV series, That Girl.[4] The Band Box closed in 1973 and Gray, who drank heavily, died in poverty in 1978. His club is commemorated in the name of a sandwich at Canter's, a nearby Fairfax Avenue deli.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Cecilia Rasmussen (January 18, 1998). "The Nightclub That Survived as a Sandwich". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 14, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. The address is taken from club posters displayed at Classic Television Showbiz 9/16/12 - 9/23/12, An Interview with Peter Marshall - Part One, retrieved January 26, 2014.
  3. Billy Gray at the Internet Movie Database
  4. That Girl | Beware of Actors Bearing Gifts | TV Episode 1966, retrieved January 17, 2014.