Tuesday, July 27, 2010
FORGOTTEN ONES: BOBBY VAN
In the early 1950s, while Van was married to starlet Diane Garrett, he appeared in several films and television shows including Shower of Stars and the title role in The Affairs of Dobie Gillis and roles in the MGM musicals Because You're Mine and Kiss Me, Kate.
In the 1960s, Van did comedy work with Mickey Rooney in films and television. He appeared in three episodes of Rooney's Mickey sitcom on ABC in the role of a freeloading brother-in-law. He also did some choreography, as had his father years earlier.
In 1968, Van married Broadway actress Elaine Joyce, and together they appeared on 1970s game shows like Tattletales and Match Game. Van also hosted the game shows Showoffs, The Fun Factory and Make Me Laugh. They had one daughter, Taylor, who was born in 1977.
In 1973 he appeared in the musical remake of Lost Horizon, the last occasion on which he took his traditional song-and-dance persona to the big screen. His novelty dance number from Small Town Girl (1953) was featured in That's Entertainment, Part II (1976). Van's last television appearance was as the host for the Mrs. America Pageant in 1980, which he had emceed for several years.
In 1979, Van was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He survived the initial surgery, but after a year-long battle with cancer, he died from the disease in Los Angeles in 1980 and was interred at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.