Walter Winchell

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Walter Winchell Trivia

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  • Trivia

    • Winchell: It's a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up when you do.

    • Winchell: Nothing recedes like success.

    • Winchell: Gossip is the art of saying anything in a way that leaves practically nothing unsaid.

    • Winchell: Remember that nobody will ever get ahead of you as long as he is kicking you in the seat of the pants.

    • Winchell: Hollywood is a place where they place you under contract instead of under observation.

    • Winchell: I usually get my stuff from people who promised somebody else they would keep it a secret.

    • The lead characters in the 1932 film Okay, America and 1957's Sweet Smell of Success were based on Winchell.

    • Winchell is buried in Greenwood Memory Lawn in Phoenix.

    • Winchell was belatedly inducted posthumously into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2004. His granddaughter was present at the ceremony.

    • Winchell once appeared as the Mystery Guest on an episode of What's My Line? Because of his hugely familiar and distinctive voice he answered all questions put to him using a kazoo.

    • Winchell reportedly interfered repeatedly in his daughter Walda's marriage until it finally broke up.

    • Winchell's contracts with his newspapers and radio syndicators required them to indemnify him in case he was successfully sued for slander or libel.

    • Winchell's first cousin, Howard W. Koch, directed several episodes of the show he narrated--The Untouchables.

    • Winchell has been portrayed on the screen by the following actors in the following movies:

      Joseph Bologna-Citizen Cohn (1992)

      Michael Cavanaugh-Marilyn and Me (1991)

      Lloyd Gough-Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977)

      Vaughn Meador-Lepke (1975)

      Craig T. Nelson-The Josephine Baker Story (1991)

      Michael Townsend Wright-The Rat Pack (1998)

      Mark Zimmerman-Dash and Lilly (1999)

    • Reportedly once slept with Marilyn Monroe but that has never been confirmed for certain.

    • In 1939, Winchell's radio broadcasts persuaded fugitive mobster Louis "Lepke" Buchalter to surrender to him. Winchell then turned Buchalter over to the FBI.

    • Winchell spoke in a distinctive, staccato style.

    • A fictionalized version of Winchell appears as a character in Phillip Roth's novel The Plot Against America.

    • Winchell appeared as himself in the movies A Face in the Crowd and The Helen Morgan Story.

    • Stanley Tucci played Winchell in the 1998 HBO biopic of the same name.

    • Winchell's obituary appeared on the front page of the New York Times.

    • According to show biz lore, Winchell's daughter, Walda, was the only person to attend his funeral.

    • Winchell's final two years were spent living at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

    • Winchell's son, Walter, Jr., committed suicide on December 24, 1968. He had been living on welfare for two years.

    • Winchell reprised his role as Untouchables narrator on an episode of The Lucy Show entitled Lucy, the Gun Moll. Untouchables actors Robert Stack, Bruce Gordon, and Steve London also appeared.

    • After leaving his wife Winchell moved in with a woman named June Magee who bore him three children. Though the two pretended to be married for the rest of their lives they never underwent an official marriage ceremony.

    • Winchell married Ruth Greene on August 11, 1919. They divorced in 1928. This was Winchell's only legal marriage.

    • Burt Lancaster's character in the 1957 movie Sweet Smell of Success was based on Winchell.

    • Winchell's favorite restaurant/nightclub was The Stork Club. He always sat at table 50 in the Club Room.

    • Winchell began his radio broadcasts with the words, "Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America, and all the ships at sea."

    • Winchell is credited for introducing the words "scram", "pushover", and "belly laughs" into the American vernacular.

    • He starred in his own short-lived series, The Walter Winchell Files, in 1957. The series only lasted for 13 episodes.

    • Winchell reportedly received $25,000.00 per eisode to narrate The Untouchables.

    • Winchell narrated The Untouchables TV series from 1959 to 1963.

    • He once accused Lucille Ball of being a Communist in his newspaper column. Note: it was true. She joined the party but only attended one meeting.

    • Winchell's politics became more conservative after World War II because he perceived Communism to be a great menace to American society whereas many liberals did not.

    • Winchell was one of the first commentators to speak out against the Fascist regimes of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

    • Winchell was a strong supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal economic program during the 1930's.

    • Winchell performed in vaudeville during his teens primarily as a dancer.

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