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Paul Lynde
Birth: Jun. 13, 1926
Mount Vernon
Knox County
Ohio, USA
Death: Jan. 10, 1982
Beverly Hills
Los Angeles County
California, USA

Actor, Comedian. He is best remembered as the sarcastic practical joker 'Uncle Arthur' on the ABC television sitcom "Bewitched" that aired from 1964 to 1972, as well as a regular panelist on the NBC daytime television game show "Hollywood Squares." Born one of six children, he 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 in 1944 from Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Ohio, he studied drama at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and graduated in 1948 as "Best Student Actor of the Year." He moved to New York City, New York to pursue an acting career, surviving the next four years by waiting tables and selling his own blood in order to scrape together the money he needed to exist, hoping for a shot at the big time. On Thanksgiving Day 1950, he won an amateur talent contest which led to his first New York nightclub gig as a stand-up comic. Other successful club dates followed, and he was soon cast in "New Faces of 1952," a hit revue which led to comedy roles. The show was filmed and released as "New Faces" in 1954. In 1956 he co-starred in the short-lived 1956 sitcom "Stanley" opposite Buddy Hackett and Carol Burnett, both of whom were also starting out their careers in show business. In 1960 he to Broadway when he was cast as 'Harry MacAfee', the father in "Bye Bye Birdie." And also reprised the role in the 1963 film adaptation. That same year, he recorded a live album, "Recently Released," issued as an LP record and written entirely by him. His other film credits include "Son of Flubber" (1963), "Under the You Yum Tree" (1963), "Send Me No Flowers" (1964), "Beach Blanket Bingo" (1965), "The Glass Bottom Boat" (1965), and "Rabbit Test" (1978). Throughout his life, he appeared in the Broadway plays "The Impossible Years," "Don't Drink the Water," and "Plaza Suite." In the 1960s he was in great demand and was a familiar face on many sitcoms, including "The Phil Silvers Show," "The Munsters," "The Flying Nun," "Gidget," "I Dream of Jeannie," to name a few, and variety shows such as "The Perry Como Show" and "The Dean Martin Show." His best known sitcom role was on "Bewitched," where he made his debut appearance in the first season episode as Samantha Stevens' nervous driving instructor in "Driving is the Only Way to Fly." His role was very well received by viewers, as well as series star Elizabeth Montgomery and her husband, director/producer William Asher. Asher then created the recurring role of "Uncle Arthur' and he made 10 appearances on the show as the beloved character. In 1966 he debuted on the fledgling game show "Hollywood Squares" and quickly became its iconic guest star. Eventually he assumed a permanent spot as the "center square," a move which ensured that he would be called upon by contestants at least once in almost every round. Despite an urban legend to the contrary, he remained in the center at the producers' discretion. It was on "Hollywood Squares" that he was best able to showcase his comedic talents with short, salty one-liners, delivered in his trademark sniggering delivery. Many of these gags were thinly veiled allusions to his homosexuality. Other jokes relied on figures of speech, an alleged fondness for deviant behaviors, or dealt with "touchy" subject matter for 1970s television. He gained considerable fame and wealth from the series, appearing over 700 times. He also did extensive voice work on animated cartoons, particularly those of Hanna-Barbera Productions. His most notable roles included 'The Hooded Claw' in "The Perils of Penelope Pitstop" (although he was uncredited), 'Mildew Wolf' from "It's the Wolf" (a segment of Cattanooga Cats), and 'Pertwee' from "Where's Huddles?." He also voiced the role of 'Templeton' the gluttonous rat in the animated feature "Charlotte's Web" (1973). In 1972 he starred in the short-lived ABC television sitcom "The Paul Lynde Show," playing an uptight attorney and father at odds with his liberal-minded son-in-law. He received a nomination for a Best Actor Golden Globe for the show. He was then moved to "Temperatures Rising" for the 1973-1974 season but was then cancelled due to poor ratings. Despite his popularity, his presence and humor worked better as comic relief in smaller doses. In addition to the unsuccessful "The Paul Lynde Show" and "Temperatures Rising,' he starred in four failed television pilots in the 1960s, "Howie" (1962, CBS), "Two's Company" (1965, ABC), "Sedgewick Hawk-Styles: Prince of Danger" (1966, ABC), and "Manley and the Mob" (1967, ABC). Although he was voted America's favorite comedian in a 1974 poll and highly sought out for every manner of TV game and variety show, it was the failure of his two series that reportedly exacerbated his alcoholism, leading to numerous run-ins with the law and frequent arrests for public intoxication. Despite this, his continuing popularity led to him being signed by ABC to host a series of specials from 1975 to 1979, including "The Paul Lynde Comedy Hour" (November 6, 1975, with Jack Albertson, Nancy Walker and the Osmond Brothers), "The Paul Lynde Halloween Special" (October 29, 1976, featuring the first prime-time network appearance of KISS, along with Margaret Hamilton recreating her role as the 'Wicked Witch of the West' from "The Wizard of Oz"), "The Paul Lynde Comedy Hour" (April 23, 1977, with Cloris Leachman and Tony Randall), "T'was the Night Before Christmas" (with Alice Ghostley, Martha Raye, George Gobel and Foster Brooks), "The Paul Lynde Comedy Hour" (May 20, 1978, with Juliet Prowse, Brenda Vaccaro and Harry Morgan), "Paul Lynde at the Movies" (March 24, 1979, with Betty White, Vicki Lawrence, Robert Urich and Gary Coleman), and "Paul Lynde Goes M-A-A-A-AD" (May 20, 1979, with Marie Osmond, Charo and Vicki Lawrence). In 1976 he received an Entertainer of the Year Emmy award for being voted the funniest man of the year, which he immediately turned over to host Jackie Gleason, citing him as "the funniest man ever." This gesture was totally unexpected and shocked Gleason. He was also a regular guest on the 1976-1979 variety show "Donny & Marie" until 1978 when he was arrested for interfering with a police officer. Afterwards, work began to dry up for him and he took any opportunities that were offered. He appeared as a guest weatherman for WSPD-TV in Toledo, Ohio in 1978 and appeared as Indian chief 'Nervous Elk' alongside former "Bye Bye Birdie" co-star Ann-Margret in the 1979 comedy "The Villain," his final film role. He had also become disenchanted with being what he called "boxed into" Hollywood Squares and departed the series that same year. Acting jobs continued to be sparse, although it is unclear if this was due to anti-gay prejudice of the era or his known substance abuse and alcohol problems, which made him difficult to work with. In early 1980 he finally became sober and drug-free. At this time, "Hollywood Squares" was experiencing a downward trend in ratings. He originally did not want to return, but changed his mind when he received co-star billing with host Peter Marshall. He returned to the series in the spring of that year and remained with the show until its cancellation in February 1981. After failing to show up for a birthday party, he was found dead at his home at the age of 55. The coroner determined his death was the result of a heart attack. Despite his campy television persona, he never publicly came out as a homosexual and the press generally refrained from commenting about it. In 2005 a biography written by Steve Wilson and Joe Florenski was published entitled "Center Square: The Paul Lynde Story." (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
Family links: 
  Hoy Corydon Lynde (1894 - 1949)
  Silvia Bell Doup Lynde (1898 - 1949)
  Grace Lynde Rice (1917 - 1994)*
  Helen C. Lynde (1919 - 2001)*
  Richard Hoy Lynde (1920 - 1990)*
  Coradon G. Lynde (1923 - 1944)*
  Paul Lynde (1926 - 1982)
  John R. Lynde (1929 - 1965)*
*Calculated relationship

Cause of death: Heart attack 
Note: Grave marker has error in date of birth.
Amity Cemetery
Knox County
Ohio, USA
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 1598
Paul Lynde
Added by: Eugene J. Henderson
Paul Lynde
Added by: DEANO
Paul Lynde
Added by: Jeffrey A. Mack
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