Legendary comedian Shecky Greene dies on New Year’s Eve aged 97
Posted by  badge Boss on Jan 01
Comedy star Shecky Greene has died aged 97 (Picture: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)

Legendary comedian Shecky Greene has died on at the age of 97, it has been confirmed.

Greene was best known for headlining in Las Vegas and providing plenty of laughs with his stand-up shows.

He was also a frequent guest and occasional guest host on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

As well, Greene starred as Pvt. Braddock on the first season of Combat!, and had movie credits including Tony Rome, The Love Machine, Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood, and History of the World: Part One.

The star died at his Las Vegas home on Sunday at 3:21am of natural causes, his wife of 41 years, Marie Musso Greene, told the .

Greene is also survived by his two adopted daughters, Dorian Hoffman of Boise, Idaho, and Alison Greene of Vancouver, Washington.

The stand-up comic was married to Marie Greene for more than 40 years (Picture: Denise Truscello/WireImage)

He leaves behind sisters-in-law, a nephew, and two nieces.

Marie was Greene’s second wife, as the entertainer was married to Polynesian dancer Nalani Kele from 1972 until 1982.

Speaking after her devastating loss, Marie said of their four decades together: ‘It was fun.

‘He always made humour out of whatever he could. He made you laugh and feel good.

‘It was a happy time.’

Greene was due to be celebrated with an induction into the UNLV College of Fine Arts Hall of Fame on April 2, 2024 at Fontainebleau’s BleauLive Theatre.

University representatives have said they still plan to honour him posthumously.

Greene appeared in many TV shows, including ABC’s Fall Guy (Picture: American Broadcasting Companies via Getty Images)
He appeared in Love and the Fighting Couple in 1970 (Picture: ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

Greene kickstarted his career in comedy at the Prevue Lounge in New Orleans, Louisiana.

He went on to perform in clubs in the likes of Miami and Chicago, eventually getting his big break by opening for Dorothy Shay in 1954 in Vegas.

Then, in 1957, he opened as a headliner at The Tropicana Hotel, where he remained for the next five years.

His final appearance on a Las Vegas stage came in 2011 at the South Point Showroom.

Greene made 40 appearances on The Tonight Show and appeared on The Merv Griffin Show, where he guest-hosted too.

In his later years, Greene struggled with stage fright, with panic attacks preventing him from performing to audiences for several years.

‘I was a manic depressive,’ he said in 2009.

‘Then I developed panic attacks, and I worked with people who never knew it. I’d get a standing ovation, then I’d burst out crying as soon as I left the stage.

‘I wanted to get out of show business so bad at that time. But when you’re making $100,000 a week and supporting 12 bookies and a wife — it’s difficult.’