What's My Line?

Season 7 Episode 29

EPISODE #302

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Aired Daily 12:00 AM Mar 18, 1956 on CBS

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  • Notes

    • From Rick S (2005)

      Here is information paraphrased from the final chapter of the 1989 biography, "Fred Allen: His Life and Wit" by Robert Taylor:

      Fred went to his doctor the morning of his passing and was told that his heart was in okay, but not great, shape. That night, he dashed off a note to columnist Earl Wilson and left a note that he had received from Groucho Marx in the typewriter to remind himself to reply to it. At about 11:45 PM, he felt well enough to take his evening walk. Because of the bad weather, Portland, who usually accompanied him, stayed behind. He left his New York City apartment building on 58th and 7th Avenue (which is still standing in 2005 and is very ornate) and walked towards 57th Street. He stopped and talked to the newsstand owner on the corner. He walked about 50 yards east on 57th Street and collapsed. According to Taylor, there was no way to save him. He was brought into an apartment building lobby at 171 W. 57th Street. Columnist Leonard Lyons was exiting the elevator in the building and seeing that the stricken man was Fred, called Portland to the hotel lobby. Lyons reported that Fred had been walking a dog (in error). All of these events happened in less than thirty minutes. He was declared dead at 12:05 AM. Twenty very eventful minutes had passed. In Fred's pocket were all the dollar bills that he passed out to the folks who held out their hands for help as he took his nightly walk.

      Taylor writes, "Portland entered the lobby, knelt beside Fred, and took his hand. 'How old was your husband?' a policeman asked. 'Not was,' she said, 'IS.'"

      Taylor mentions that Bennett and John Daly attended the funeral, but since he spends almost no time referring to Fred's time on WML, he might not have thought to mention if Arlene and Dorothy had also been there. They most likely were. He mentions that the funeral was delayed until Wednesday because of a new snowstorm. 1,200 mourners were in attendance and 300 shivered outside.

      Death was due to coronary occlusion, which is the blockage of one or more of the coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart. In these modern days of treatment for heart disease and bypass surgery, Fred would probably had lived a much longer and healthier, happier life.

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