Biography: The son of vaudeville entertainers, Steve Allen was a radio and television writer and host who created The Tonight Show. He was the first host, from 1954-57, and developed many common elements of late-night talk shows.
He left "Tonight" to devote his efforts to a primetime sketch comedy program. "The Steve Allen Show" featured a cast of future stars including Don Knotts, Tom Poston, Bill Dana, and Pat Harrington, Jr. This series ran from 1956-61.
In the 1956 feature film "The Benny Goodman Story", he played the title role. Through the 60's and 70's he hosted a variety of syndicated talk and game shows. in 1977, he developed an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning program called "Meeting Of The Minds", which featured interviews with re-enactors of historic figures.
Steve Allen was also a jazz pianist and prolific composer, writing over 8,000 songs by his own account. His most famous song is "This Could Be the Start of Something". His attempts at creating Broadway musicals (Sophie; Belle Starr) were less successful.
Allen wrote of 50 books on a variety of topics from autobiography, mystery novels, children's books, and religion.
He died from untreated injuries suffered in a minor car accident at 78.
- 1954-07-31 American television personality and songwriter Steve Allen (32) weds American actress Jayne Meadows (33)
- 1954-09-27 "The Tonight Show" 1st premieres on NBC hosted by Steve Allen
- 1956-06-24 "Steve Allen Show" returns on NBC-TV
- 1956-07-01 Elvis Presley, wearing a tuxedo, appears on Steve Allen Show
- 1957-07-28 Jerry Lee Lewis makes his 1st TV appearance (Steve Allen Show)
- 1960-06-06 "Steve Allen Show" last airs on NBC-TV
- 1963-04-15 Steve Allen's musical "Sophie", based on the life of American singer, and comic actress Sophie Tucker, opens at Winter Garden Theater, NYC; runs for 8 performances
- 1967-06-14 "The Steve Allen Comedy Hour" premieres on CBS-TV