ERNIE KOVACS BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Ernie Kovacs was born on January 23rd, 1919 in Trenton, New Jersey with the birth name Ernest Edward Kovacs. His father, Andrew was employed as a policeman and also a bootlegger. He became so financially successful that, Ernie as raised in a huge mansion. After graduating from Trenton Central High School, Ernie earned a scholarship at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts with the help of his drama teacher. With the onset of the depression, his families financial situation worsened and they were not able to help support him living in New York as he had hoped for, however, he continued to study acting and found work in summer stock.
His parents divorced and he moved back to live with his mother in Trenton and he soon found work as a disk jockey on Trenton's WTTM radio station in 1941. Ernie also became involved in stage productions, directing for the Trenton Players Guild and he was also given the chance to write a column called, "Kovacs Unlimited".
His first television job was on, "Pick Your Ideal" followed by becoming the host of, "Deadline For Dinner" and "Now Your Cooking". Other shows he appeared on were, "Three to Get Ready", "Kovacs On the Corner", "Silent Show" and "Tonight Show". He had a unique comedy show and he had unique fan base as many felt he was way ahead of time.
However, Ernie Kovacs was establishing himself as a author, actor, producer and next on his agenda was adding composer to his resume. In 1957, he joined the American Society of Composers and Publishers and a number of popular songs such as, "Ugly Duckling", "So Good to Me", "The Patty Cake", "The Irving Wong Song" and many others songs that he composed were used on television comedy sketches such as, "Mr. Question Man". He would use classical music as background for silent sketches and in 1957 he also served as the host on a jazz LP to benefit the American Cancer Society.
In regards to his writing, Kovacs wrote a novel called, 'Zoomer' in 1957 and also published the book, "How to Talk to Gin" (1962). He also wrote for a magazine called, 'Mad' between 1955 and 1958.
Along with his second wife, Edie Adams they appeared on the series, "I Love Lucy" and he was also seen on the big screen in such films as, "Operation Mad Ball", "Wake Me When It's Over" and "Our Man in Havana".
Kovacs married twice throughout his lifetime, his first wife was Bette Lee Wilcox whom he wed in 1945 and after having two children this marriage ended in 1952. He then married for a second time to Edie Adams in 1954 and they had one child together and remained married until Kovacs passed away on January 13th, 1962 in Beverly Hills, California after getting killed in a car accident. He is interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
When he passed away, he had owed the IRS a couple thousand dollars in back taxes. His widow, Edie Adams did not want any of her friends to help her pay of his debt, so instead she worked in the industry in other small jobs to make the payments to the IRS.
He had made quite an impact on Hollywood in a variety of ways. For starters, he created the first kaleidoscopic images on live television with a large metal can with two mirrors inside of it, taped to the lens of a television camera. He also developed a special effect where he was able to make it appear as though he was looking through his assistant's head by placing a black patch on her head and standing against a black background.
Ernie Kovacs was television's first significant video artist and Hollywood honored his talents in 1962 with an Emmy for outstanding electronic camera work and the Directors' Guild award was also given to him, but after he passed away. Twenty five years after his passing, he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television.
1961-1962 The Ernie Kovacs Show
1961 Sail a Crooked Ship
1961 The United States Steel Hour
1961 Five Golden Hours
1960 North to Alaska
1960 Strangers When We Meet
1960 Goodyear Theatre
1960 Wake Me When It's Over
1959 Our Man in Havana
1959 Shotgun Slade
1959 It Happened to Jane
1959 Schlitz Playhouse
1958-1959 G.E. True Theater
1959 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse
1958 Bell Book and Candle
1957 Playhouse 90
1957 Operation Mad Ball
1956-1957 The Ernie Kovacs Show
1956 Showdown at Ulcer Gulch
1954 I Love Lucy
1951 Time for Ernie
1951 Now You're Cooking
1951 Deadline For Dinner
1950 Pick Your Ideal