Paul Lynde was born in 1926 in Mount Vernon, Ohio (one of six children and the middle of four boys). His father was a local police officer and the sheriff of the Mount Vernon Jail for two years. Lynde 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 from Northwestern University, Lynde relocated to New York City where his first break came from being a stand-up comedian at the Number One Fifth Avenue nightclub. Then came an appearance on a Broadway show, “New Faces of 1952”.
Lynde also had a two-year run on TV with Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall (1948) and the Broadway and film versions of Bye Bye Birdie (1963). Throught his life, Lynde appeared in the Broadway plays “The Impossible Years”, “Don’t Drink the Water”, and “Plaza Suite”. His many film credits include New Faces (1954), Send Me No Flowers (1964), and Rabbit Test (1978). One of his most memorable roles was a recurring role on Bewitched (1964) playing the sneering, sarcastic Uncle Arthur. He appeared on TV’s The Dean Martin Show (1965), The Kraft Music Hall (1967), Donny and Marie (1975), and both the prime-time and daytime versions of the game show The Hollywood Squares (Daytime) (1965) where he occupied the famous center square. He had two TV series of his own, The Paul Lynde Show (1972) and The New Temperatures Rising Show (1972). Paul Lynde’s witty, wisecracking one-liners and his novel line delivery made him one of Hollywood’s funniest and best loved entertainers. Paul Lynde died under mysterious circumstances when he was found dead in his bed after possibly suffering a heart attack in January 1982 at age 55. He had been in ill-health for over a year with cancer or some other illness that was never fully revealed to the public before or after his death.
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