Jan Murray, a Catskills comedian who went on to work in Vegas and later hosted a string of TV gameshows, died Sunday in Beverly Hills. He was 89.
Born Murray Jankowski in the Bronx, Murray got his start on the Borscht Belt, the circuit of upstate New York resorts that launched the careers of many Jewish comics. He graduated to New York and Las Vegas niteries before getting into TV in the 1950s.
Murray hosted gameshow “Treasure Hunt” from 1956-59, first on ABC and later on NBC.
The show was part of a string of gameshows for Murray that included “Dollar a Second” and “Charge Account”; latter, in its second season, was renamed “The Jan Murray Show.” He also frequently guest-hosted “The Tonight Show.”
Though he continued in TV, largely guest-starring in series such as “Love, American Style” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” Murray began to act in movies in the late 1960s. His credits include “A Man Called Dagger,” “Thunder Alley” and “The Angry Breed.”
Murray also helped launch the Chabad telethon in 1980 and hosted the fundraiser through 1996.
He continued to do comedy until he was 83 and his worsening asthma adversely affected his comic timing.
Murray is survived by his second wife, Toni; two daughters; two sons; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at noon Thursday at Hillside Memorial Park, 6001 Centinela Ave., Los Angeles.