Facts about Ernie Kovacs

Ernie Kovacs died at 42 years old
Best known as: Zany 1950s TV comedian



Ernie Kovacs Biography

Ernie Kovacs was an innovative and absurdist TV comedian of the 1950s. The two best-known versions of The Ernie Kovacs Show ran from 1952-53 (on CBS) and from 1955-56 (on NBC).

Before getting his own show, Kovacs introduced and performed as zany comic characters like the Nairobi Trio (three mechanical musicians in ape masks and derby hats) and the lisping poet Percy Dovetonsils in a series of local and national shows and specials,

Playful and often surreal, Kovacs was loved by critics but not-so-loved by the audiences of his day — none of his individual shows stayed on the air for more than a year.

He is now regarded as a TV comedy pioneer who inspired offbeat comedians like Steve Martin and David Letterman.

Kovacs also had a short film career, playing a corrupt policeman in the spy spoof Our Man in Havana and a gold rush con man opposite John Wayne in North to Alaska (both in 1960). He was killed in a 1962 car crash in Los Angeles.

Extra credit

Kovacs’s cigar was a trademark prop, and he did a series of creative commercials for Dutch Masters cigar company… Kovacs was married twice, the second time to Edie Adams, a singer and actress who appeared on his show… Kovacs was played by actor Jeff Goldblum in the 1984 TV movie Between the Laughter… Kovacs was killed while driving a Corvair, the car featured in Ralph Nader‘s 1965 critique of the auto industry, Unsafe At Any Speed.


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