Happy Birthday Gracie

By | Jul 26, 2013

Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen, of the comic team Burns and Allen was born on July 26 in San Francisco. Her death record shows 1902 as does her grave marker as the year of her birth. This date was given by her husband George Burns, who had said he was never sure in what year she was born. All public records were lost in the 1906 earthquake. Census records show that she was probably born in 1895.

Gracie Allen along with George Burns began in Vaudeville in the 1920s. They first met in 1922, but didn’t marry until January 7, 1926, somewhat daring for those times, considering Burns’s Jewish and Allen’s Irish Catholic upbringing.

Their act was at first with George Burns as the the comic, but after having Gracie’s straight lines get more laughs, he became the straight man to her. From Vaudeville they went to radio. First as regular guests on The Guy Lombardo Show and then in 1932 on their own show. They were radio stars until 1950 when they moved to television starring in The Burns and Allen Show.

By the end of the 1950s her health was declining and in 1958 she retired. George tried to continue the show renamed The George Burns Show with the same cast minus Gracie. Her absence was readily noticed and the show lasted just a single year without her.

One of her most remembered line is one that there is no record of her ever saying. At the close of a show George Burns state “Say good night, Gracie” to which she would simply reply “Good night.” For some reason it is commonly thought that her answer was “Good night Gracie”. In all known recordings it is simply, “Good night”.

She died on August 27, 1964. She was entombed in a mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery where he join her when he died nearly 31 years later. An engraving on the marker reads “Gracie Allen and George Burns — Together Again”.


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