Buddy Deane, Inspiration of Corny Collins and Hairspray, Dead at 78

Obituaries   Buddy Deane, Inspiration of Corny Collins and Hairspray, Dead at 78
Buddy Deane, whose popular Baltimore dance show was the model for Hairspray's "Corny Collins Show," died in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on July 16 of complications from a stroke, the New York Times reported. He was 78.

"The Buddy Deane Show" ran on Baltimore's WJZ-TV from 1957 to 1964. Mr. Deane hosted a crowd of exuberant teens, who danced to the music of live rock bands, including many name acts. (Bill Haley and the Comets first performed "Rock Around the Clock" on the show.) The show ran for two and-a-half hours, six days a week and was a local sensation.

In the musical Hairspray, inspired Baltimore-native John Waters' movie of the same name, "The Corny Collins Show" is home of "The Nicest Kids in Town." Hefty heroine Tracy Turnblad's fondest wishes are to become a dancer on the show, catch its dreamy star Link and integrate the program to feature African-American dancers.

The Times reported that Mr. Deane's show was not integrated during its run—not because WJZ-TV resisted, but because the southern city of Baltimore was perceived as not being ready for such a move.

Mr. Deane was born in Arkansas. He began his career as a disc jockey, one of the first to play rock 'n' roll on the air. After "The Buddy Deane Show" was canceled, he returned to Arkansas, where he owned several local radio stations.

He is survived by his wife and three daughters.

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