George Gobel Cause of Death: How the Comedian Left Behind a Legacy of Laughter

George Gobel was a popular comedian and actor who entertained millions of Americans with his witty and wholesome humor. He was best known for his own TV show, The George Gobel Show, which ran from 1954 to 1960 on NBC and CBS. He also appeared as a panelist on Hollywood Squares and as a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. But how did George Gobel die, and what was his impact on the comedy world? Here is a brief overview of his life, career, and death.

Early Life and Career

George Leslie Goebel was born on May 20, 1919, in Chicago, Illinois. He was the only child of Hermann and Lillian Goebel, who were immigrants from Austria-Hungary and Scotland, respectively. His father was a butcher and grocer, while his mother was a homemaker. George showed an early talent for singing and playing the guitar, and he performed on radio shows such as the National Barn Dance and The Tom Mix Show as a child. He also toured with country music bands under the name “The Littlest Cowboy”.

George graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in Chicago in 1937, and married his high school sweetheart, Alice Rose Humecki, in 1942. They had three children together: Gregory, Leslie, and Richard. During World War II, George enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces and served as a flight instructor in Oklahoma. He later joked about his wartime service, saying “There was not one Japanese aircraft that got past Tulsa” . 

After the war, George resumed his entertainment career, but decided to focus more on comedy than singing. He performed in nightclubs, hotels, and county fairs, developing his trademark style of quiet, homespun humor. He often portrayed himself as a hapless, unassuming, henpecked husband who tried to breeze through life the best he could. He also adopted the nickname “Lonesome George”, which reflected his humble and self-deprecating persona.

Television Stardom

George’s big break came when he appeared on several TV shows in the early 1950s, such as The Garry Moore Show, The Spike Jones Show, and The Dinah Shore Show. He impressed audiences and critics with his original and refreshing comedy, which contrasted with the loud and frantic style of other comedians at the time. In 1954, he was given his own show on NBC, The George Gobel Show, which showcased his talents as a comedian, actor, singer, and guitarist. The show featured regular guests such as Peggy King, Jeff Donnell, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Fred MacMurray, Kirk Douglas, and Tennessee Ernie Ford. It also introduced some of George’s famous catchphrases, such as “Well then there now”, “You don’t hardly get those any more”, and “Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?”.

The George Gobel Show was a huge success, making George one of the biggest comedy stars of the 1950s. He won an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding New Personality in 1955 , and received four more nominations for Best Comedian or Comedienne in 1956-1959 . He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 . The show moved to CBS in 1959, where it alternated with The Jack Benny Program until it ended in 1960.

Later Career and Death

After his show ended, George continued to work in TV, film, theater, and music. He appeared in several TV shows such as Wagon Train,

Death Valley Days,

Daniel Boone,

F Troop,

Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,

The Red Skelton Show,


American Style,

Chico and the Man,

and The Love Boat . He also starred in two movies with Diana Dors: The Birds and the Bees (1956) and I Married a Woman (1958). He co-starred with Sam Levene in the Broadway musical Let It Ride (1961), based on the play Three Men on a Horse ³. He recorded several albums of comedy and music, such as Lonesome George Gobel (1955), Hootenanny (1963), and Country Style (1969) .

George made a comeback in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson ³. He often traded jokes with Carson and other guests such as Bob Hope,

Dean Martin,

and Don Rickles . He also became a regular panelist on Hollywood Squares in 1974, replacing the late Cliff Arquette (aka Charley Weaver) . He remained on the show until 1981, and occasionally returned as a guest until 1986 .

George Gobel died on February 24, 1991, at the age of 71, at Encino Hospital in Los Angeles, California . He had been hospitalized for five weeks following surgery on a leg artery, and suffered complications from the operation . He was buried at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California . He was survived by his wife Alice, who died in 1999, and his three children .

Legacy and Influence

George Gobel was one of the most beloved and influential comedians of his generation. He was admired by his peers and fans for his gentle and charming humor, which appealed to a wide range of audiences. He was also respected for his versatility and professionalism as an entertainer. He influenced many other comedians, such as Bob Newhart,

Jerry Seinfeld,

Ellen DeGeneres,

and Ray Romano . He was inducted into the National Comedy Hall of Fame in 1998 , and received a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Comedy Awards in 1992 .

George Gobel left behind a legacy of laughter and joy that continues to inspire and entertain people today. He was a true comedy legend who made the world a better place with his humor and kindness. As he once said, “I’m a little man who’s been given a big opportunity to spread some happiness around” .

Doms Desk

Leave a Comment