Shecky Greene, ‘The Tonight Show’ alum and stand-up comedy legend, dead at 97

Shecky Greene, 'The Tonight Show' alum and stand-up comedy legend, dead at 97

Legendary comic Shecky Greene has died. He was 97.

The “Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” staple passed away early Sunday morning at his Las Vegas home, his wife, Marie Musso Greene, confirmed to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

He died from natural causes.

Reflecting on their 41-year marriage, Marie told the outlet that her time with Shecky was “fun.”

“He always made humor out of whatever he could. He made you laugh and feel good. It was a happy time,” she said.

Marie also shared that the family would not be having a Celebration of Life for her late husband.

Shecky was known in the comedy world for his numerous appearances on the “Tonight Show,” occasionally serving as a guest host on the long-running late-night series.


Despite his outlandish comedy acts — which sometimes included hanging from curtains and doing backflips onstage — Shecky told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2009 that he suffered from debilitating stage fright.

“I was a manic depressive,” he recalled. “Then I developed panic attacks, and I worked with people who never knew it. I’d get a standing ovation, then I’d burst out crying as soon as I left the stage. I wanted to get out of show business so bad at that time. But when you’re making $100,000 a week and supporting 12 bookies and a wife — it’s difficult.”

However, per the outlet, the comedian became a well-known face in the Las Vegas community and would occasionally drop in for surprise stand-up sets.

Shecky is survived by his two adopted daughters, Dorian Hoffman (Charlie Hoffman) and Alison Greene; sisters-in-law JoAnn Musso Sperry and Linda Galasso; nephew Michael Sperry; and nieces Angel Galasso Hooper and Gina Dadian.


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