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 Bobby Van

Bobby Van

Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Death 31 Jul 1980 (aged 51)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Maimonides 20, Lot #5728, space 3
Memorial ID 5463 · View Source
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Entertainer. He will be best remembered for his dancing routines on Broadway and in films. Later in his career, he became associated with TV game shows. Born Robert Jack Stein into a Jewish New York family, his parents were vaudeville performers. Bobby made his professional debut as an entertainer at the age of four as part of his parent’s act. After graduating from high school, he played the trumpet in a band in the Catskills and following this exposure he joined the nightclub circuit as a singer and dancer. In 1950, he marked his Broadway debut in the musical “Alive and Kicking:” and two years later, he made his motion picture debut in “Skirts Ahoy!” (1952). Van earned a place in film history with his number from the picture “Small Town Girl” in which he gleefully hops through the town to the sound of the tune “Take Me To Broadway. He played the title role in “The Affairs of Dobie Gillis” (1953) and had a memorable dance scene with Bob Fosse and Tommy Rall in “Kiss Me Kate” (1953). Unfortunately for Van, musicals ran their course by the late 1950s and his film career would never experience the same success. With the exception of choreographing the Jerry Lewis’ pictures “The Ladies’ Man” (1961) and “It’s Only Money” (1962), in addition to co-starring in the short-lived Mickey Rooney TV series “Mickey” (1964), Van’s activity during the 1960s was light. During the 1970s, his career was revived with the aid of Broadway. He received a Tony Award nomination for the production “No, No Nanette” (1971) and was top of the bill for “Doctor Jazz” (1975). Van appeared several times on the game show “Tattletales” with his second wife actress Elaine Joyce and he hosted the programs “Showoffs” (1975) and “Make Me Laugh” (1979). Van’s last TV appearance was as host of the “Mrs. America Pageant” in 1980. Van underwent surgery for a brain tumor in 1979 and succumbed to cancer one year later at the age of 51.

Bio by: C.S.



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 16 May 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5463
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Bobby Van (6 Dec 1928–31 Jul 1980), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5463, citing Mount Sinai Memorial Park, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .