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Rubin, circa 1920s
|Born||February 2, 1899|
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||July 15, 1986 (aged 87)|
|Resting place||Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Bolt (1927–1986)|
Benny Rubin (February 2, 1899 – July 15, 1986) was an American comedian and film actor. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Rubin made more than 200 radio, film and television appearances over a span of 50 years.
In 1929, Rubin went to Hollywood, where he began working as a supporting actor in films and began developing his ethnic characters. His film debut was in Naughty Baby.
Rubin was known for his ability to imitate many dialects. He performed in vaudeville with routines that included "English That's Different".
Rubin demonstrated his dialect talents as a panelist on the joke-telling radio series, Stop Me If You've Heard This One. He also provided the voice for Joe Jitsu throughout the television cartoon series, The Dick Tracy Show. In 1963, he played the second Indian Chief on an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
He made frequent guest appearances on both the radio and television versions of The Jack Benny Program. A popular bit included Jack asking a series of questions that Rubin would answer with an ever-increasing irritated, "I don't know!" followed by the punchline. In later years he made many bit appearances, sometimes uncredited, for instance in a number of Jerry Lewis features. He also guest appeared in an episode on the television series The Joey Bishop Show as the hypnotist, Max Collins.
According to Jack Benny's autobiography, Sunday Nights at Seven, he once cast Rubin to portray a Pullman porter. Although Rubin could do a convincing African-American dialect, the producer insisted he looked "too Jewish" for the part. As a result, Benny ended up giving the part to Eddie Anderson, and the porter character soon evolved into the famous "Rochester Van Jones".
He had a memorable turn in the Gunsmoke episode "Dr Herman Schultz M.D.", in which he played a physician who used his mesmeric skills to steal money.
He appeared in a 1961 episode of The Tab Hunter Show.
In 1968, he appeared on Petticoat Junction as Gus Huffle, owner of the Pixley movie theater, in the episode "Wings". (The episode title is in direct reference to the 1927 silent movie Wings starring Charles "Buddy" Rogers and Richard Arlen, who also appear in the episode as themselves.) Then, in 1969, he appeared again (credited as the "man patient") in the episode: "The Ballard of the Everyday Housewife".
Jokes by Lew Lehr, Cal Tinney, Roger Bower and Rubin were collected in Stop Me If You've Heard This One (1949), a Permabook published by Garden City Publishing. Permabooks were designed with an unusual format of a paperback bound with stiff cardboard covers (with a "special wear-resistant finish") to simulate the look and feel of a hardcover book, and the company had previously published Best Jokes for All Occasions, edited by Powers Moulton.
The Stop Me If You've Heard This One Permabook featured a two-page foreword by Tinney, a one-page introduction by Bower, 66 pages of jokes by Bower, 85 pages of jokes by Tinney and 82 pages of jokes by Lehr. Under the heading, "P.S.", Rubin only had space for four jokes on two pages, as explained, "Benny Rubin was added to our show just before press time."
In 1972, Rubin published his autobiography, Come Backstage with Me.
On March 26, 1927, Rubin married actress Mary O'Brien. They had a daughter and were divorced in 1934.
- Naughty Baby (1928)
- Sunny Skies (1930)
- Crazy House (1930)
- Hot Curves (1930)
- Leathernecking (1930)
- Julius Sizzer (1931) short film
- Dumb Dicks (1932) short film
- Guests Wanted (1932) short film
- The Girl Friend (1935)
- Sunday Night at the Trocadero (1937) short film
- The Headleys at Home (1938)
- Fighting Mad (1939)
- Zis Boom Bah (1941)
- Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
- Double Trouble (1941)
- Obliging Young Lady (1942)
- Tangier Incident (1953)
- Up in Smoke (1957)
- A Hole in the Head (1959)
- The Errand Boy (1961)
- Pocketful of Miracles (1961)
- A House Is Not a Home (1964)
- That Funny Feeling (1965)
- Angel in My Pocket (1969)
- Hook, Line & Sinker (1969)
- How to Frame a Figg (1971)
- The Return of the World's Greatest Detective (1976)
- The Shaggy D.A. (1976)
- Coma (1978)
- The Other Side of the Wind (posthumously released in 2018; scenes filmed in 1974-5)
- "Benny Rubin, an Actor And Vaudeville Comic". The New York Times. Associated Press. July 17, 1986. p. D 21. ProQuest 111099192. Retrieved October 28, 2020 – via ProQuest.
- "Benny Rubin at Loew's State". The New York Times. May 27, 1933. p. 11. ProQuest 100695055. Retrieved October 28, 2020 – via ProQuest.
- Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. P. 37.
- Rubin, Benny. Come Backstage with Me. Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1972.
- "Benny Rubin divorced". The New York Times. April 24, 1934. p. 27. ProQuest 101171396. Retrieved October 28, 2020 – via ProQuest.
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