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.