Borscht Belt performer Wakefield dies

Comedian appeared in original pilot for 'Dick Van Dyke' show

Borscht Belt comedian Jack Wakefield, who also sang, died July 2 in Boynton, Fla., of heart failure and arteriosclerosis. He was 86.

As a comedian, Wakefield headlined the Catskills for more than 50 years and toured with Sammy Davis Jr. and Engelbert Humperdink among others.

He also appeared on Broadway in 1955’s “Catch a Star” and 1964’s “I Had a Ball.”

On television, he played Alan Sturdy in Carl Reiner’s television pilot for the original Dick Van Dyke Show called “The Comedy Spot.” He did numerous guest spots on the talkshow circuit, including “The Joey Bishop Show” and “Merv Griffin.”

In later years he appeared in He appeared in films “Hardly Working” and “Viva Max.”

Wakefield also was featured in more than 1,000 commercials for companies like Schaefer Beer, Gillette, United Airlines, Almond Joy, Alcoa, Yankee Franks and Esso.

Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Elsie; three daughters; six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Donations may be made in his name to Hugs and Hope Foundation for Sick Children at hugsandhope.org.

More TV

  • David Cassidy'Once In A Lifetime' concert

    Celebrities Remember David Cassidy: 'Love and Mercy to David'

    Borscht Belt comedian Jack Wakefield, who also sang, died July 2 in Boynton, Fla., of heart failure and arteriosclerosis. He was 86. As a comedian, Wakefield headlined the Catskills for more than 50 years and toured with Sammy Davis Jr. and Engelbert Humperdink among others. He also appeared on Broadway in 1955’s “Catch a Star” […]

  • This Is Us Chrissy Metz

    ‘This Is Us’ Star Chrissy Metz Breaks Down Kate’s Grieving Process

    Borscht Belt comedian Jack Wakefield, who also sang, died July 2 in Boynton, Fla., of heart failure and arteriosclerosis. He was 86. As a comedian, Wakefield headlined the Catskills for more than 50 years and toured with Sammy Davis Jr. and Engelbert Humperdink among others. He also appeared on Broadway in 1955’s “Catch a Star” […]

  • David Cassidy Partridge Family

    David Cassidy, 'Partridge Family' Star, Dies at 67

    Borscht Belt comedian Jack Wakefield, who also sang, died July 2 in Boynton, Fla., of heart failure and arteriosclerosis. He was 86. As a comedian, Wakefield headlined the Catskills for more than 50 years and toured with Sammy Davis Jr. and Engelbert Humperdink among others. He also appeared on Broadway in 1955’s “Catch a Star” […]

  • Jason Beghe

    'Chicago P.D.' Star Jason Beghe Investigated for 'Anger Issues'

    Borscht Belt comedian Jack Wakefield, who also sang, died July 2 in Boynton, Fla., of heart failure and arteriosclerosis. He was 86. As a comedian, Wakefield headlined the Catskills for more than 50 years and toured with Sammy Davis Jr. and Engelbert Humperdink among others. He also appeared on Broadway in 1955’s “Catch a Star” […]

  • TV News Roundup: Fox Sets Premiere

    TV News Roundup: Fox Sets Midseason Premiere Dates for 'LA to Vegas,' 'The Resident'

    Borscht Belt comedian Jack Wakefield, who also sang, died July 2 in Boynton, Fla., of heart failure and arteriosclerosis. He was 86. As a comedian, Wakefield headlined the Catskills for more than 50 years and toured with Sammy Davis Jr. and Engelbert Humperdink among others. He also appeared on Broadway in 1955’s “Catch a Star” […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content