Jackie Kahane

Jackie Kahane, the comedian who enjoyed a six-decade career and is remembered for being Elvis Presley’s opening act during the 1970s, died Monday March 26 in Encino, Calif., following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 79.

The Montreal native opened for Presley from 1972 until Presley’s death in 1977, appearing with Presley at the Las Vegas Hilton, every major U.S. venue that Presley appeared in and around the world with the singer.

Kahane was handpicked by Presley’s legendary manager, Col. Tom Parker, when Parker saw him getting laughs in Las Vegas without doing off-color jokes.

In 1961, the former druggist was selected along with Bill Cosby as one of Time Magazine’s outstanding comedians.

He performed with such greats as Sophie Tucker, Wayne Newton, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick and Joe E. Lewis.

He also appeared on TV’s “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson,” and “The Mike Douglas Show” as well as numerous times on David Frost’s TV show.

A fixture at Friars Club roasts and charity events around the country, he more recently managed TV writers, ran his own production company and served as executive producer of the TV shows “Off the Wall” and “Honeymoon Haven.”

Kahane is survived by his wife, Rosanna, two daughters and two grandchildren.

More Scene

  • Nicole KidmanWarner Bros. Pictures World Premiere

    How James Wan Convinced Nicole Kidman to Star in 'Aquaman'

    While some actors dream of playing a superhero, that wasn’t the case for the cast of “Aquaman.” “I knew nothing about this,” Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the James Wan-directed action film, told Variety at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. “I knew nothing about comic books in general. I didn’t know anything about this [...]

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City last was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s producer Sam Moore called. “He [says], ‘You know, your dad wants you to do this film,” Alison recalls. “I [...]

  • John CenaSports Illustrated Sportsperson of the

    John Cena on WWE's Acceptance by Hollywood and the Professional Sports World

    John Cena says the WWE is finally getting the attention it deserves by Hollywood and the professional sports world. “I’m just glad that no longer are we looked down upon, not only by the sport industry, but by the performing arts industry,” Cena told Variety on Tuesday night in Beverly Hills at Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of [...]

  • Steve Carell Welcome to Marwen

    Steve Carell on New Film 'Welcome to Marwen' and Reprising His 'Anchorman' Character

    In 2000, Mark Hogancamp was nearly beaten to death by five men outside of a bar. Left with brain damage and little money to afford therapy, Hogancamp began creating miniature doll versions of himself, his friends, and his attackers as a way to cope. This true story inspired the 2010 documentary “Marwencol” and the upcoming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content