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Ed Sullivan was a journalist, producer and TV host known for his successful variety program The Ed Sullivan Show.
Watch a short video about TV show host Ed Sullivan and how he came to have his own variety show.
After a stint as an actor, Ed Sullivan started to appear on television and host the "Ed Sullivan Show."
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Sullivan was also known for embracing African-American artists, refusing to kowtow to racist sponsors and, as such, was a major force in diversifying the American media landscape. Guests on his show included the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye,
the Supremes (one of his favorite acts) and Pearl Bailey, who appeared on his program almost two dozen times. Other guests known for regular appearances included opera star Roberta Peters and comedian Myron Cohen.
Sullivan, whose somewhat awkward demeanor was often poked fun of and who had a sense of humor himself, became a media icon and appeared in films like Bye Bye Birdie (1963) and The Singing Nun (1966).
The Ed Sullivan Show had its final telecast on June 6, 1971, with CBS making way to air movies instead. Sullivan helmed specials and became the president of Theater Authority, Inc. His wife died in March 1973 and Sullivan died the following year, on October 13, 1974, at age 73, from esophageal cancer.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications has pointed out that Sullivan introduced more than 10,000 acts throughout his career. Clips of his variety show continue to be watched and discussed today. Additionally, the Ed Sullivan Theater, which hosted the famous program, has become the home venue for comedian David Letterman's long-running talk show.
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