His catchphrase was “hello dere.” Now we say goodbye.
Marty Allen, the bug-eyed comedian and staple of variety shows, died Monday night in Las Vegas. He was 95.
Candi Cazau, a spokesperson for Allen, told the Associated Press he passed away from complications with pneumonia. His wife and performing partner Karon Kate Blackwell kept by his side.
“Honored to have had him on my podcast & grateful to have attended his 95th Birthday Celebration,” fellow comedian Gilbert Gottfried tweeted. “Farewell to one of the funniest people onstage and off. RIP Marty Allen.”
“Las Vegas and show business lost a legend tonight…and I lost a friend,” Terry Fator, a Vegas-based ventriloquist, wrote. “Marty Allen was true Mr. Show Business.”
Allen became known as one-half of the Allen & Rossi duo in the 1950s and ’60s with Steve Rossi. The pair appeared 44 times on The Ed Sullivan Show — even with The Beatles — and later on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson and The Merv Griffin Show. It was during this time that Allen made “hello dere” his own.
“Everyone remembers those shows with The Beatles, and they were great, but we appeared on all the shows,” he told The Las Vegas Sun (via PEOPLE). “There wasn’t a talk show on TV that didn’t want Allen & Rossi.”
Allen & Rossi split in 1968, but teamed up again multiple times over the years that followed. Rossi died of cancer in 2014.
Allen made his way across daytime television and became a regular on game shows, like The Hollywood Squares.