Alan King, Comedian, Actor and Producer, Dead at 76

Obituaries   Alan King, Comedian, Actor and Producer, Dead at 76
Actor-comedian Alan King, whose last major role in New York was playing Hollywood royalty, died May 9 at the age of 76, according to the Associated Press.
Alan King in Mr. Goldwyn
Alan King in Mr. Goldwyn Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The cause of death was lung cancer. Mr. King was born Irwin Alan Kniberg and grew up on Manhattan's Lower East Side and Brooklyn. He was a teen-age performer on "The Major Bowes Amateur Hour" and would work in showbiz for the next six decades. Over the years, Mr. King appeared in films, on TV, in nightclubs and in concerts — as a headline act often, but also opening for many legendary singers, including Judy Garland at the Palace and the London Palladium.

He played film mogul Samuel L. Goldwyn at Off Broadway's Promenade Theatre in the 2001-2002 theatre season, in Mr. Goldwyn by Marsha Lebby and John Lollos.

Among his 30 film appearances is work in "Hit the Deck," "The Anderson Tapes," "Just Tell Me What You Want" and "Author! Author!," "Enemies: A Love Story," "Casino," "Night and the City" and "Sunshine State." As a movie producer, he produced the Billy Crystal move, "Memories of Me."

Mr. King's Broadway work includes acting in a revival of Guys and Dolls (1965), The Impossible Years (star and producer), and producing The Lion in Winter, The Investigation, Something Different and Tyrone Guthrie's Dinner at Eight. He was also the voice of the Tony Awards host in the Broadway production of Applause, and producer of the first Barbra Streisand tour.

Mr. King served as Abbot of The New York Friars Club, and penned five best-selling books ("Anyone Who Owns His Own Home Deserves One" and "Help! I'm a Prisoner in a Chinese Bakery" among them).

In his 2002 Playbill bio, Mr. King admitted that his greatest achievement was his 54-year marriage to wife Jeanette, his three children and his grandchilden.

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