Born Benjamin Kubelsky (1894-1974) in Waukeegan, Illinois, beloved comedian Jack Benny made the world laugh with his running gags of awful violin playing (remember his theme, Love in Bloom?) and stinginess.
"Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you donít mind, it doesnít matter," said Benny who always gave his age as "39."
The master of comic timing, Benny successfully made the crossover from vaudeville to radio to television. He quit TV in 1965, with over 340 episodes completed. He also appeared in over 30 films.
Benny was famous for putting his palm on his cheek in mocked exasperation and saying, "Well!" or telling his audience in an aside, "Now cut that out!" His drawn out pauses, facial expressions, and hand gestures were as effective as the punch-lines. "When you are speaking, timing is not so much knowing when to speak, but knowing when to pause," he said.
Although he used his frugality as a comedy gag, Jack Benny had a reputation for generosity and once gave $1 million to an actor's retirement home. In 1961, he was instrumental in raising money to prevent the demolition of Carnegie Hall.
"I'm a simple guy," Benny once reflected. "For a comedian I'm surprisingly normal. I have never been to a psychiatrist and I've only been married once."
Know what you want and ask for it.