Bert Convy was the quintessential Hollywood star, beginning as a hit singer and transitioning towards television, film, and theater. Once establishing himself in tv, he became the host of different hit game shows, including Super Password and Win, Lose, or Draw.
Actor, game show host, singer and producer Bert Convy was born Bernard Whalen Convy on July 23, 1933, in St. Louis, Missouri. Perhaps best known as a likeable game show host, Bert Convy was also an accomplished actor and singer. He moved to the Los Angeles area with his mother around the age of 7 after his parents divorced. A graduate of North Hollywood High School, Convy was a talented first baseman on the school’s baseball team. He briefly pursued a professional baseball career before going to the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
While at college, Convy started acting and joined a rock group called the Cheers. His first role was a non-speaking part in Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid at the university. He wanted to make a career out of acting, despite the odds. In a later interview with People magazine, Convy recalled a meeting of the theater arts students. "The dean told the 500 of us, 'if you are very, very lucky, one of you will make his living in this business . . . one!' I remember walking out, feeling sorry for the other 499."
Outside of school, Convy found chart success with his band. The trio scored a minor hit in 1954 with "(Bazoom) I Need Your Lovin'" and had a top ten hit with "Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots" the next year, which sold more than one million copies. While trying his hand at a solo music career, Convy found greater success on the stage. He starred in the Billy Barnes Revue, a music theater production that started its run in Los Angeles and then moved to Broadway in 1959. The show highlighted his talents as a singer, dancer and actor.
Around this time, Convy also appeared on the big screen in B-movie king Roger Corman's horror film, A Bucket of Blood (1959). He went on to land a number of guest spots on such television shows, as Perry Mason, 77 Sunset Strip and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Moving to New York City in 1962, Convy returned to Broadway. He was one of the original cast members of the hit musical drama, Fiddler on the Roof, with Zero Mostel and Bea Arthur in 1964. Two years later, Convy earned more rave reviews for his work in the original musical Cabaret.
In addition to his stage work, Convy remained a popular guest star on television. He also appeared on several game shows, such as Password and Match Game. Moving back to California in 1974, Convy became the host of Tattletales, the daytime game show, which featured celebrity couples trying to give matching answers to win money for their section in the studio audience. His work on the show earned him an Emmy Award in 1977.
Work in Television
The success of the game show opened many doors for Convy. A man of many talents, he also had a short-lived variety show, The Late Summer Early Fall Bert Convy Show, in 1976. Convy also appeared in films and television movies, including Semi-Tough (1977) with Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson.
Although Tattletales was canceled in 1978, Convy was not away from television for long. Convy became the host for NBC's Super Password and later a syndicated version of Tattletales in the early 1980s. Returning to his theatrical roots, Convy returned to Broadway around this time to star in the musical Nine.
Convy and his wife Anne Anderson created the 1983 short-lived family sitcom It's Not Easy. Tackling the theme of parenthood in the modern age, the show focused on a divorced couple who live across the street from each other in order to share custody of their two children. Ken Howard played the father and ex-husband, and Carlene Watkins played the mother and ex-wife. Convy appeared as her new husband and famed comedienne Jayne Meadows was Howard's mother. Only a few episodes were ever aired.
In the late 1980s, Convy became the host of the syndicated game show, Win, Lose, or Draw, which he co-produced with friend Burt Reynolds. In addition to his work on television and film, he did numerous nightclub performances. In 1990, his own life took a dramatic turn. His mother had a stroke that year and while visiting her at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Convy collapsed. He was admitted to the hospital and after some tests it was discovered that he had brain cancer.
Divorced from his first wife Anne Andersen in 1991, Convy married for a second time that same year. Sadly, his marriage to wife Catherine lasted only a few months. Convy died on July 15, 1991, in Brentwood, California. In addition to Catherine, he was survived by three children from his first marriage.
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