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Sidney Reznick, a comedy writer who penned jokes for showbiz legends Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope and Johnny Carson — not to mention presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey — died July 24 in Los Angeles, five days before his 93rd birthday, his son reported.
One of the last surviving writers from radio and TV’s Golden Age, Reznick served as a staff writer for Carson on The Tonight Show in New York and Los Angeles. He was on stage when ukulele player Tiny Tim (“Tiptoe Through the Tulips”) memorably wed Victoria Mae Budinger (aka Miss Vicki) on the late-night show in December 1969.
In 1957, Reznick created the comedy game show Sez Who?, which involved panelists trying to identify the famous voices who made memorable comments that had been recorded over the years. He was on the staff of I’ve Got a Secret, a 1960s game show hosted by Garry Moore, and wrote episodes of the TV shows Beetle Bailey, Love, American Style, The Love Boat and The Odd Couple.
When Richard Nixon refused to debate Humphrey during the 1968 campaign, Reznick had Humphrey refer to his opponent as “Richard the Chicken-Hearted.” The line was cited in several political columns of the day, and Nixon mentioned it in 1978 when Humphrey died, Reznick’s son, Bruce, recalled.
A native of New York, Reznick wrote in the early 1940s for The Jimmy Durante Show. He also worked in radio with Al Jolson, Ethel Merman, Phil Silvers, Ed Wynn, Steve Allen, Sam Levenson, Henry Morgan, Robert Q. Lewis and Jan Murray.
On television, he wrote for Jack Paar‘s The Morning Show on CBS in the 1950s; for variety shows hosted by Moore and Jackie Gleason; and for specials or series starring Hope, Vic Damone, Victor Borge and The Manhattan Transfer.
In addition to Bruce, Reznick is survived by another son, Robert, and grandchildren Peter and Emma. In lieu of a memorial, his friends are invited to leave a message here.
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