Marty Allen, the veteran comedian who was part of the popular Allen and Rossi duo and was known for his catchphrase “Hello dere,” has died. He was 95.
Allen died in Las Vegas on February 12 from complications of pneumonia. He is survived by his wife and performing partner of the last 30 years, Karon Kate Blackwell, who was with him when he died, his spokeswoman told the Associated Press.
His comedy career took off in the late 1950s and ‘60s when he performed with Steve Rossi. The duo appeared 44 times on “The Ed Sullivan Show”; one of those performances was in 1964, and another was in 1965. They followed the Beatles both times. According to the New York Times’ obituary, in 1964 “Mr. Allen performed a frenetic dance wearing a Beatle wig.” In 1965, “he ran up and down the aisles while Mr. Rossi sang ‘She Loves You’ (its lyrics amended to ‘We love you, yeah, yeah, yeah’ and addressed to the audience).”
The duo also appeared on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson” and “The Merv Griffin Show.”
The act broke up in 1968, but Allen and Rossi occasionally reunited for shows into the 1990s.
Mr. Allen made hundreds of television appearances, including in a dramatic role on the series “The Big Valley.” He also was a regular on “The Hollywood Squares” and made guest appearances on many game shows.
Ms. Allen “relied on his physical appearance to help the comedy,” Lawrence J. Epstein wrote in his book, “The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America.” “Allen’s wild mane of hair, his squinting eyes, and his sad voice nasally delivering his trademark introduction ‘Hello dere’ all were part of his act.”
He and his wife performed comedy routines in Las Vegas and in other places throughout the country until at least 2016.
Mr. Allen was born — as Morton Alpern — and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He served in Italy in the Army Air Corps during World War II, earning a Soldier’s Medal for bravery.
His first wife, Lorraine “Frenchy” Allen, died in 1976.
JTA Wire Service