16 December 1921, New York City, New York, USA, d. 30 October 2000, Encino, California, USA. A self-taught pianist, Allen was in showbusiness as a small child and when he reached his twenties, moved into radio. In the mid-40s he moved to Los Angeles, where he gained a following as a presenter of record programmes such as Smile Time and a music-talk show on Los Angeles KNX station. He also turned to comedy, and as such was a natural for television. His shows regularly featured jazz, sometimes played by Allen himself, sometimes by guests. He acted as producer for the television series Jazz Scene USA, and was the creator and first host of NBCs long-running The Tonight Show. In the late 60s, he enjoyed further success with the PBS show Meeting Of Minds. His popularity was almost entirely restricted to the USA but in 1955 he became well known internationally thanks to his appearance in the title role of the movie The Benny Goodman Story.
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