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Subject: Archive: Bobby Van, July 31, 1980

Actor, dancer, TV host
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Date Posted: Friday, July 31, 11:58:52am

Bobby Van
BIRTH 6 Dec 1928
Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
DEATH 31 Jul 1980 (aged 51)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Mount Sinai Memorial Park
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
PLOT Maimonides 20, Lot #5728, Space 3
MEMORIAL ID 5463 · View Source


Entertainer. He will be best remembered for his dancing routines on Broadway and in films. Later in his career, he became associated with TV game shows. Born Robert Jack Stein into a Jewish New York family, his parents were vaudeville performers. Bobby made his professional debut as an entertainer at the age of four as part of his parent’s act.

After graduating from high school, he played the trumpet in a band in the Catskills and following this exposure he joined the nightclub circuit as a singer and dancer. In 1950, he marked his Broadway debut in the musical “Alive and Kicking:” and two years later, he made his motion picture debut in “Skirts Ahoy!” (1952).

Van earned a place in film history with his number from the picture “Small Town Girl” in which he gleefully hops through the town to the sound of the tune “Take Me To Broadway. He played the title role in “The Affairs of Dobie Gillis” (1953) and had a memorable dance scene with Bob Fosse and Tommy Rall in “Kiss Me Kate” (1953).

Unfortunately for Van, musicals ran their course by the late 1950s and his film career would never experience the same success. With the exception of choreographing the Jerry Lewis’ pictures “The Ladies’ Man” (1961) and “It’s Only Money” (1962), in addition to co-starring in the short-lived Mickey Rooney TV series “Mickey” (1964), Van’s activity during the 1960s was light. During the 1970s, his career was revived with the aid of Broadway. He received a Tony Award nomination for the production “No, No Nanette” (1971) and was top of the bill for “Doctor Jazz” (1975).

Van appeared several times on the game show “Tattletales” with his second wife actress Elaine Joyce and he hosted the programs “Showoffs” (1975) and “Make Me Laugh” (1979). Van’s last TV appearance was as host of the “Mrs. America Pageant” in 1980. Van underwent surgery for a brain tumor in 1979 and succumbed to cancer one year later at the age of 51.

Bio by: C.S.

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Wow, 40 years already! (NT)FACTOID: His widow Elaine Joyce has the the distinction of also being widow to famed playwright Neil Simon (1927-2018).Friday, July 31, 12:04:03pm
What a solid entertainer he was! I remember him in those variety shows in the 1970s, as well as panelist in TV gameshows like "Match Game" and Tattletales with his lovely wife Elaine Joyce! -Sad and ironic that BOTH Van and "Tattletales" host Bert Convy died of the same thing -brain tumor. ...Here is Bobby Van, 51, Convy, 57, and Alejandro Rey, 57, all gone in this VIDEO. ...Friday, July 31, 09:19:17pm

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