Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FORGOTTEN ONES: BOBBY VAN

Not many people remember Bobby Van. He was born Robert Jack Stein in 1928 to vaudeville parents in The Bronx, New York City, and grew up backstage to many memorable Depression-era acts. Originally, Van took King as his stage name (after his father's stage name, from the trio "Gordon, Reed and King"). He finally opted for Van, supposedly after seeing a Van Johnson poster hanging in his sister's bedroom.

In the early 1950s, while Van was married to starlet Diane Garrett, he appeared in several films and television shows including Shower of Stars and the title role in The Affairs of Dobie Gillis and roles in the MGM musicals Because You're Mine and Kiss Me, Kate.

In the 1960s, Van did comedy work with Mickey Rooney in films and television. He appeared in three episodes of Rooney's Mickey sitcom on ABC in the role of a freeloading brother-in-law. He also did some choreography, as had his father years earlier.

In 1968, Van married Broadway actress Elaine Joyce, and together they appeared on 1970s game shows like Tattletales and Match Game. Van also hosted the game shows Showoffs, The Fun Factory and Make Me Laugh. They had one daughter, Taylor, who was born in 1977.

In 1973 he appeared in the musical remake of Lost Horizon, the last occasion on which he took his traditional song-and-dance persona to the big screen. His novelty dance number from Small Town Girl (1953) was featured in That's Entertainment, Part II (1976). Van's last television appearance was as the host for the Mrs. America Pageant in 1980, which he had emceed for several years.

In 1979, Van was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He survived the initial surgery, but after a year-long battle with cancer, he died from the disease in Los Angeles in 1980 and was interred at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

27 comments:

  1. Loved Bobby Van!!!

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  2. Wonderful in Lost Horizon
    Great talent gone too soon

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  3. Bobby was great in Lost Horizon! Very talented man he could do it all! Charismatic too! He will ever be forgotten!

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  4. Love watching him and his wife on the show tattletales, never watched it while I was younger love the reruns he was also very good at dancing and singing on Broadway, a true charmer

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  5. I used to watch Tattletales in the 1970s and had the biggest crush on him. Died way too soon. Such a great talent and such a great shame he is no longer with us.

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  6. Bobby and his wife Elaine were my partners on Definition game show in 1978. They were both very nice people and down to earth, caring and funny!

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  7. Loved Bobby Van...a wonderful talent, gone way to soon. Till today I watch the reruns of Tattletales with the hope of catching Bobby! :)

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  8. Marilyn matheson. GignacDecember 28, 2015 at 3:32 PM

    Loved Bobby. Watch him all the time! He had the greatest smile and eyes. So glad you have the tapes from his shows. We have those to remember him always. Xxoo

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  9. Awww i never knew others loved him and watch tattletails! I love them both great partners!... I would of love to know how elane felt on his death... He did leave this earth too soon =/, and its so sad.. Wish i knew bobby and elaine in real life!

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  10. I stay up late EVERY night (they're on) to watch Bobby and Elaine on Tattletales reruns. They were a terrific match; bright, funny and knew one another very well. Gone too soon.

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    1. I was always a fan of his, and just discovered him on Tattletales. What a smile and happy demeanor.

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  11. Watching Tattletales now on Buzzer channel. He and Elaine were a lovely couple. Wow! Didn't realize he passed from a brain tumor like Bert Convy. Both were in their 50's.

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  12. May 19, 2016 8:30 AM
    I started watching Tattletales reruns on Buzzer channel
    and I am so happy when Bobby and Elaine are on. They truly loved each other and were so amusing.

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  13. I watched tattletales as a youngster a d now on Buzzr..very talented couple!

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  14. Such a great and fun couple. Watch them on Tattletales over and over. They were so in love. They knew more about each other in their short marriage than those on the show married for years.

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  15. Love watching reruns of Tattletails!
    What a great couple Bobby and Joyce were.

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  16. I loved watching bobby and elaine on gameshows. They were so funny together.

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  17. Bobby lived on the same block in The Bronx as I did and I went to school with his sister Elaine Stein. He was taken too soon

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  18. I loved him sooo much

    Phyllis

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  19. It is 4:15 in the morning and watching Super Password with Elaine Joyce . You can't help but think of Bobby. So sad that Bobby was taken so young. I look forward to seeing the loving couple on reruns. Love you Elaine

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  20. It is 4:15 in the morning and watching Super Password with Elaine Joyce . You can't help but think of Bobby. So sad that Bobby was taken so young. I look forward to seeing the loving couple on reruns. Love you Elaine

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  21. It is 4:15 in the morning and watching Super Password with Elaine Joyce . You can't help but think of Bobby. So sad that Bobby was taken so young. I look forward to seeing the loving couple on reruns. Love you Elaine

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  22. It is 4:15 in the morning and watching Super Password with Elaine Joyce . You can't help but think of Bobby. So sad that Bobby was taken so young. I look forward to seeing the loving couple on reruns. Love you Elaine

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  23. Bobby was a cousin of mine,(my folks and I were also living in the Bronx) but never got to meet him in person... Would have loved to! P.B. Stein

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  24. Bobby and Elaine on the top tier, Match Game 73. Still entertaining today, thanks MeTV!

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  25. Always cheered for them on tattletales. They knew each other very well. Kurt...

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