Fred Allen, the well-known comedian who went on to star in radio, television, and film, was born John Florence Sullivan in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1894 and educated at Boston University. His Broadway shows include “The Passing Show of 1922” and “The Greenwich Village Follies”.
He produced, wrote,and starred in a network radio show entitled at various times “Linit Bath Club Revue”, Town Hall Tonight”, Texaco Star Theater” and finally “The Fred Allen Show” from 1932 to 1949. He was also a semi-regular on the network radio program “The Big Show” from 1950 to 1952. He was a frequent guest on “The Jack Benny Program”. Jack and Fred, good friends in real life, had an accidental on air feud that begin in 1936 and lasted off and on until Fred Allen’s passing.
On television, he was one of the regular rotating hosts of the Colgate Comedy Hour (1950), but did not renew his initial contract due to health reasons. He also starred on television’s “Judge for Yourself” from 1953 to 1954 and was a regular panelist on What’s My Line” from 1954 until his death.
He appeared in such films as “Thanks a Million”, “Love Thy Neighbor”, “Sally, Irene, and Mary”, and “It’s in the Bag”.
He wrote two autobiographies. The first,about his days in radio, published in 1954, entitled “Treadmill to Oblivion”. The second, about his days in vaudeville, was published after his death by his wife Portland Hoffa, entitled “Much Ado About Me.” (1956). Fred was in the process of completing the final chapter at the time of his death. Also always known as an avid letter writer, a collection of these entitled “Fred Allen’s Letters” was published in 1966.
– IMDb Mini Biography By: Matt Dicker
The above IMDB entry can also be accessed online here.