Bob Elliott (comedian)

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Bob Elliott (comedian) : biography

March 26, 1923 –

Robert Brackett "Bob" Elliott (born March 26, 1923) is an American actor and comedian, formerly one-half of the comedy duo of Bob and Ray. He is the father of comedian/actor Chris Elliott and the grandfather of former Saturday Night Live cast member Abby Elliott.

Life and career

Elliott was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Gail M. and Fred Russell Elliott; Gail was a needleworker and Fred worked in insurance. On radio, Elliott appeared in programs with his long-time partner Ray Goulding. These were in different series and time slots over decades, beginning in the late 1940s at Boston’s WHDH radio when the two were first paired for Matinee With Bob and Ray, simply because it sounded better than Matinob with Ray and Bob.

On television, Elliott and Goulding hosted The Bob and Ray show from 1951 to 1953. Elliott appeared on a number of other television programs, including Happy Days; Newhart; and Bob & Ray, Jane, Laraine & Gilda in 1979 (with Goulding, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner). He also appeared on radio with Garrison Keillor in The American Radio Company of the Air.

In 1989, Elliott co-authored his son’s mock autobiography, Daddy’s Boy: A Son’s Shocking Account of Life with a Famous Father. The junior Elliott satirized celebrity tell-all biographies by writing completely fictional and highly-sensationalized tales of his childhood as the son of a famous comedian. The concept of the book is that the publisher’s attorneys had insisted that Chris allow his father to write every other chapter of the book, so that Bob could rebut any "factual errors" Chris might have made in the preceding chapter. In his first "rebuttal" chapter, Bob professes not to have understood anything Chris wrote; he proceeds to use this and all subsequent chapters to talk about the summer he’s having at his vacation cottage in Maine instead, employing the familiar Bob and Ray style of dry wit.

In 1990, Elliott portrayed Fred Peterson in the television series Get a Life, which starred his real-life son Chris Elliott as his son in the show.

In 1994, Elliott appeared in the Tim Burton–produced film Cabin Boy, where he played his real-life son’s father once again.

In 2004, he appeared in a skit on the Air America radio program The O’Franken Factor. He revived his classic character of field reporter Wally Ballou, interviewing international air travelers delayed at Heathrow Airport by post-9/11 security measures.

Bob and Ray writer Raymond Knight died in 1953. In 1954, Bob Elliott married Knight’s widow, Lee.