55 (passed away Jan. 10th, 1982)
Jun. 13th, 1926
Mount Vernon, Ohio, USA
Paul Lynde's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Paul Lynde was born in 1926 in Mount Vernon, Ohio (one of six children and the middle of four boys). His father was a local police officer and the sheriff of the Mount Vernon Jail for two years. Lynde got his inspiration to become an actor at the age of four or five after his mother took him to see the original silent film Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925). After graduating from Northwestern University, Lynde relocated to New York City where his first break came from being a stand-up comedian at the Number One Fifth Avenue nightclub. Then came an appearance on a Broadway show, "New Faces of 1952".
Lynde also had a two-year run on TV with "The Perry Como Show" (1948) and the Broadway and film versions of Bye Bye Birdie (1963). Throught his life, Lynde appeared in the Broadway plays "The Impossible Years", "Don't Drink the Water", and "Plaza Suite". His many film credits include New Faces (1954), Send Me No Flowers (1964), and Rabbit Test (1978). One of his most memorable roles was a recurring role on "Bewitched" (1964) playing the sneering, sarcastic Uncle Arthur. He appeared on TV's "The Dean Martin Show" (1965), "The Kraft Music Hall" (1967), "Donny and Marie" (1976), and both the prime-time and daytime versions of the game show "The Hollywood Squares" (1965) where he occupied the famous center square. He had two TV series of his own, "The Paul Lynde Show" (1972) and "Temperatures Rising" (1972). Paul Lynde's witty, wisecracking one-liners and his novel line delivery made him one of Hollywood's funniest and best loved entertainers. Paul Lynde died under mysterious circumstances when he was found dead in his bed after possibly suffering a heart attack in January 1982 at age 55. He had been in ill-health for over a year with cancer or some other illness that was never fully revealed to the public before or after his death.
- His classmates at Northwestern University included 'Cloris Leachman' (qv), 'Charlotte Rae' (qv), 'Jeffrey Hunter (I)' (qv), 'Claude Akins' (qv), 'Martha Hyer' (qv), 'Patricia Neal' (qv), and 'Agnes Nixon' (qv).
- Holds a unique place in show business history - he actually got to sing on "The 'Ed Sullivan (I)' (qv) Show" the song he performed nightly in the Broadway musical "Bye Bye Birdie" about the excitement of appearing on the iconic "'Ed Sullivan (I)' (qv) Show".
- He had a weight problem that he fought to control his entire life.
- The sign proclaiming Mount Vernon, Ohio, as the birthplace of Paul Lynde was recently changed to read: "Home of Daniel Decatur Emmett, Author of [the song] 'Dixie.'"
- Lynde left _"The Hollywood Squares" (1965)_ (qv) in 1979, in a dispute over his salary. When tabloids ran stories claiming he had been fired for his drinking as well as on-set problems, he sued them for libel, seeking $10 million in damages.
- Explained his lifelong bachelorhood to fans (in the days before "coming out") by telling them his high-school sweetheart had broken his heart, and he was still too hurt to give other women a chance.
- Posthumously "outed" by 'Boze Hadleigh' (qv), who has written extensively about previously closeted Hollywood actors/actresses.
- In "Center Square: The Paul Lynde Story," biographers Steve Wilson and Joe Florenski lay to rest rumors that there was something suspicious about Lynde's death at the age of 55. Dismissing such rumors that the comedian was murdered by a hustler who robbed Lynde's house and left him dead and naked, the authors say that Lynde did die of a heart attack, as the coroner's report contended he did. Lynde expired at almost the same age as his father, who also died from a heart attack. The authors express surprise that Lynde didn't have a heart attack sooner, what with his transgressive lifestyle. Lynde was heavily into alcohol and also used drugs. He claimed to have quit these habits cold-turkey not long before his death, having been transformed by a personal event that he never revealed.
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