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Jack Paar Dead; Started in Radio

Jack Paar Dead; Started in Radio

Jack Paar is dead at 85. The Associated Press reports he died in Greenwich, Ct., quoting family members.
Paar is best known as the pioneering late-night host of TV’s “The Tonight Show,” preceding Johnny Carson. But Paar began his career as a radio announcer in Cleveland and throughout the Midwest.
According to his biography at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, “Although Paar is considered one of the key talents uniquely suited to the cool medium of television, he worked extensively in other areas of show business. Leaving school at 16, he first worked as a radio announcer and later a humorous disc jockey.
“During World War II, Paar entertained troops in the South Pacific with his wry impersonations of officers, sometimes in concert with his Army colleague Jackie Cooper. After the war, he returned to radio, serving as a fill-in for Don MacNeil on the ‘Breakfast Club’ and panelist on ‘The $64 Question.’
“In 1947 he was the summer replacement for Jack Benny, a comedian whose mannerisms Paar would later emulate. Paar was signed to a contract at Howard Hughes’s RKO Pictures and debuted in “Walk Softly, Stranger” (1950) with Joseph Cotten. In 1951 he made “Love Nest” for 20th Century-Fox, playing the sexy boyfriend opposite an emerging starlet, Marilyn Monroe.”
Paar took on “The Tonight Show” after Steve Allen, its first host, and is credited with changing the format and inventing a new genre. Shows featuring Paar on the radio can be heard at