Bob Elliott, Radio Hall Of Famer And Half Of Legendary 'Bob And Ray,' Dies At 92
February 3, 2016 at 11:14 AM (PT)
BOB ELLIOTT, whose fabled comedy career included several decades as half of radio and TV's BOB AND RAY, died TUESDAY (2/2) at his home in CUNDY'S HARBOR, ME at 92.
ELLIOTT and RAY GOULDING pioneered a unique form of satire after pairing at WHDH-A/BOSTON in 1946 and moving to NBC in 1951. They hosted network shows on NBC, CBS, MUTUAL and local shows on WINS-A, WOR-A, and WHN-A/NEW YORK and were featured on NBC's "MONITOR" and NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO. The shows included parodies of commercials and television shows as well as their most familiar bit, with ELLIOTT as news reporter "Wally Ballou," always joined halfway through saying his first name. (Their "Worst Person in the World" routine has been revived in recent years by KEITH OLBERMANN as an homage; OLBERMANN tweeted TODAY that ELLIOTT was "an American hero.")
On television, the duo hosted their own sketch show on NBC and later appeared on PBS in specials in the '80s, and hosted a special with cast members of "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE," "BOB AND RAY, JANE, LARAINE AND GILDA" for NBC in 1979. Their voices were familiar to generations as "Bert and Harry Piel" in animated PIEL'S beer commercials in the '50s and '60s. They also appeared on BROADWAY with "BOB AND RAY: THE TWO AND ONLY" in 1970 and "A NIGHT OF TWIO STARS" at CARNEGIE HALL in 1984. On film, they appeared as newsmen in NORMAN LEAR's 1971 smoking satire "COLD TURKEY" and 1982's "AUTHOR! AUTHOR!" BOB AND RAY were inducted into the NATIONAL RADIO HALL OF FAME in 1995 and are also members of the NAB Hall of Fame.
After GOULDING's 1990 death, ELLIOTT appeared in several TV shows and movies, notably with his son, actor/comedian CHRIS ELLIOTT, on FOX's "GET A LIFE" and the film "CABIN BOY" and in guest shots on several sitcoms. He appeared on GARRISON KEILLOR's "AMERICAN RADIO COMPANY OF THE AIR." ELLIOTT's granddaughter ABBY is an actress and "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" cast member.