Charles Lowe, the writer-producer of the George Burns and Gracie Allen TV program the “Burns and Allen Show” who was instrumental in the career of Carol Channing, died Sept. 2 at Cedars-Sinai Hospital following a long illness. He was 87.
Lowe came up with the idea of bringing Burns and Allen to TV, and served as a writer-producer for their show throughout its run from 1950 to 1958.
He enlisted in the Armed Forces Signal Corps during World War II, and served three of his four years with the Army Special Services, writing and directing radio productions.
After the war, Lowe became an account executive with the Wasey, Ruthrauff and Ryan Advertising Agency.
One of his clients, the Carnation Milk Co., later became an instrumental part of the “Burns and Allen Show.” Lowe incorporated Carnation commercials into the scripts without interrupting the storyline.
He married Carol Channing in 1956, and when Allen became ill, Lowe arranged for Channing to replace Allen as Burns’ stage partner.
Lowe produced the Channing revue “Show Business” in 1959, which became the Broadway hit known as “Show Girl.” One performance was broadcast live from the theater as an early pay-per-view event.
In 1962, he produced the “George Burns-Carol Channing Show,” and later engineered Channing’s starring role in the original production of “Hello, Dolly!”
Lowe additionally helped Channing land a role in the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” and produced several network TV specials for her, such as “An Evening With Carol Channing” and “Carol Channing and 101 Men.”
Lowe and Channing, 78, split in December 1997, a short time after he suffered a stroke, and the actress subsequently filed for divorce.
Divorce proceedings were pending at the time of Lowe’s death. In addition to his estranged wife, he is survived by his brother and an adopted son.