1001 W 75TH ST. WOODRIDGE, IL 630-427-1880

Hollywood Memorial

Jack Benny

Comedian best remembered for his comically inept violin playing (he was actually a very good violin player), his carefully constructed image as a penny-pincher, and for never being older than 39. His most famous joke was as a man confronted by a robber who demands ‘Your money or your life!’ to which Jack pauses for an extremely long silence, then replies ‘I’m thinking it over!’ Born here in Chicago he was raised in Waukegan, Illinois (the Jack Benny Middle School’s football team is called the 39er’s in his honor). He began in Vaudeville as a violin player and appeared in a number of movie shorts, getting his movie breakthrough in MGM’s ‘The Hollywood Revue.’ Although he continued to appear in a number of movies during the 1930s and 1940s, he made his name known on radio, where he established himself as a comedian, portraying himself as a wisecracking, penny-pinching, tightwad. His self-depreciating humor style quickly found a wide audience. From 1950 to 1965 he had his own television show ‘The Jack Benny Show,’ which was a hit throughout its run. In 1962, Jack appeared on the game show ‘The $64,000 Question,’ when after answering the first question (worth $64), he quit and took home the money, rather than risk losing it on a second question (his category was violins). He died the day after Christmas 1974, at his home in Los Angeles, California, of pancreatic cancer. His long term real life wife, Sadye Marks worked with him under the stage name of Mary Livingstone. He wrote in the cement during his footprint ceremony in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater – ‘My feet belong to Grauman but my heart belongs to Mary.’ He and Mary are both in a huge, elegant black marble sarcophagus belying his miserly persona, but you can’t take it with you. His epitaph reads ‘A beloved husband, father and grandfather’ and ‘A gentleman’ in Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angles.