Fred Allen Biography
Birthday: May 31, 1894 (Gemini)
Born In: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Fred Allen, born John Florence Sullivan, was an American comedian. Beginning his career as an entertainer in the vaudeville as a comic juggler, he starred on Broadway with his partner/wife Portland Hoffa in revues such as ‘The Passing Show’. He soon became immensely popular with the ‘Fred Allen Show’. One of this series' most popular features was ‘Allen's Alley’, a weekly jokefest which had the recurring characters Senator Claghorn, Mrs. Nussbaum and Titus Moody Allen. His best-remembered gag was his long-running mock feud with friend and fellow comedian Jack Benny. He continued his radio program until it was knocked out of the ratings race by CBS' ‘Stop the Music’. Throughout his career, he had acted in films, but did not relish scripted acting. During the 1950s, Allen worked primarily as a guest star on other comedians' radio and TV series and appeared as a regular on ‘What's My Line?’. A prolific writer, Allen turned also published two best-selling memoirs in his last decade, ‘Much Ado About Me’ and ‘Treadmill to Oblivion’. His routines influenced fellow comic talents, including Groucho Marx, Stan Freberg, Henry Morgan and Johnny Carson, while President Franklin D. Roosevelt and novelists William Faulkner, John Steinbeck and Herman Wouk were among his fans.