AKA William Edward Maguiness
Birthplace: Greeley, CO
Location of death: North Tarrytown, NY
Cause of death: unspecified
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: TV Personality, Musician
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Original Amateur Hour
William Edward Maguiness played the clarinet and saxophone professionally, and in his 20s and 30s he toured with Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, and Jack Teagarden, and with his own Edward Maguiness Band. According to a story he often told, his name was shortened to Ted Mack when a theater's marquee crew was unable to squeeze the band's full name onto the sign. Mack eventually married and settled in New York City, where he was hired as a talent scout and rose to director of the long-running radio show Original Amateur Hour, starring Edward Bowes. One of the first talent shows, the Original Amateur Hour had most of the familiar ingredients still used on such shows -- including rude comments from the host, Bowes, who even had a gong to dismiss particularly awful acts.
When Bowes died of a sudden heart attack, Mack was the natural choice to carry on the franchise. But Mack's style was the polar opposite of his predecessor, dispensing with the gong and the wisecracking comments, and instead offering contestants warm and seemingly sincere encouragement. He was introduced each week as "the nicest man in show business". The show ran on radio until 1952, and on television until 1970, including stints on all four TV networks (DuMont from 1948-49, NBC from 1949-54 and again 1957-58, ABC from 1955-57 and briefly in 1960, and CBS in 1959 and then from 1960-70). Mack's Original Amateur Hour helped launch the careers of Pat Boone, Gladys Knight, Ann-Margret, Penny Marshall, and Paul Winchell, among many others.
Father: (railroad worker)
Mother: (piano teacher, d. 1920)
Wife: Ellen Marguerite Overholt Maguiness (no children)
Hollywood Walk of Fame (television)
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