Milton Berle dies

US comic was TV's first star

Milton Berle, the vaudevillian comedian who became American TV's first star, has died at the age of 93.

The entertainer, sometimes dubbed as Mr Television, died in his Los Angeles home yesterday afternoon, following a year-long battle with cancer of the colon.

Berle came to fame with NBC's Texaco Star Theater, which ran from 1948 to 1953, although he was a well-established variety star before the new medium came along.

He was born in Harelm on July 12, 1908, getting his first taste of entertaining by winning a Charlie Chaplin impersonation contest at the age of five.

Berle was later to appear alongside Chaplin in a short movie - just one of many acheivements in a busy career, that also included the films It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Muppet Movie and Woody Allen's Broadway Danny Rose.

He won a lifetime achievement Emmy in 1979 and received the American Comedy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996.

Bob Hope paid tribute to his contemporary. In a statement, he said: "What a remarkable man, what a remarkable career - a brilliant comedian, an accomplished actor, a lifelong friend."

Hope, 98, and his wife, 93-year-old Dolores, joked: "We are among the select few who could call him 'kid."'

Published: 28 Mar 2002

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