Shecky Greene, Iconic Las Vegas Stand-Up King, Dies @ 97

January 1, 2024

Shecky Greene, a Las Vegas legend for a stand-up career that left his name synonymous with laughter, died at his home on New Year's Eve. He was 97.

Mugging in History of the World Part I (Image via 20th Century Fox)

Greene died of natural causes, his wife told The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The comic had lived in Las Vegas for over 70 years. He began his career opening for Dorothy Shay at the New Frontier there in 1954.

Very early Shecky (Image via head shot)

Along the way, he worked with Elvis Presley — who was not a big draw yet, and who actually opened for Greene in 1956 — and sparred with Frank Sinatra, who once saved his life after he called off his own men who were giving Greene a beat-down at the Fontainebleau.

A legend in the Catskills, too, Shecky's name was synonymous with comedy, as The Sopranos knew. (GIF via GIPHY)

“Frank Sinatra saved my life," Greene recalled. "Five guys were beating me up and Frank said, ‘Okay, he’s had enough.’ He loved me and we hated each other. I didn’t love him. I far from loved him. But I f**king respected him for what he was."

During his '60s heyday, Greene knocked down $10,000 a week.

Greene (R) with (from L) Rick Jason and Vic Morrow on Combat! (Image via ABC)

Greene's career also included guest-hosting The Tonight Show during the Johnny Carson era, a memorable role as Braddock on the TV series Combat! (1962-1963), and appearances in the movies Tony Rome (1967), The Love Machine (1971), Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976), History of the World: Part I (1981), and Splash (1984).

With the late Jodi Wexler in The Love Machine (Image via Columbia)

Later sitcom guest spots included Laverne & Shirley (1983), Roseanne (1995), and Mad About You (1997).

Greene is survived by his wife of nearly 40 years, Marie, and his two children.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment