Date of Death13 October 1974, New York City, New York, USA (cancer of the esophagus )
5' 7½" (1.71 m)
The beloved graven image of TV variety from 1948 to 1971 on CBS, Ed Sullivan originally made his name as a newspaper sportswriter, radio broadcaster and theater columnist for the New York Daily News. His column focused primarily on Broadway shows and juicy items about its stars. Hired in 1932 by the CBS network as a rival of radio commentator Walter Winchell, future radio stars introduced on Sullivan's program included Jack Benny. Sullivan made his film debut as himself in Mr. Broadway (1933), which he also wrote.
There Goes My Heart (1938) and the Universal musical Ma! He's Making Eyes at Me (1940). So successful was he on radio that CBS hired him to do "Toast of the Town" (1948) just as TV sets were becoming a home staple. The show, which balanced amazing novelty acts with singing and comedy talents, both legendary and up-and-coming, was broadcast from CBS Studio 50 on Broadway in New York City. In 1967 the studio was aptly renamed the Ed Sullivan Theater. As of this writing, it is the home for David Letterman's late-night show.
Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis and singers Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
The Supremes and other Motown artists, when few other TV shows would. Sullivan appeared as himself in such films as Un beso para Birdie (1963), Jerry Calamidad (1964) and Dominique (1966), among others. The irrepressibly stiff, hunch-shouldered emcee was unmercifully parodied by a parade of impressionists over the decades, including Will Jordan, John Byner and David Frye. Sullivan died in his beloved New York of esophageal cancer in 1974, three years after the cancellation of his series.