Comic Legend and Columbia Alum Shecky Greene '47 Passes Away at 97

shecky greene being interviewedPhoto courtesy of John Lamparski/WireImage.
Before he became a consistent presence on the Las Vegas strip and late-night talk shows, Shecky Greene ’47 attended Columbia College Chicago.

Shecky Greene ’47, a respected stand-up comic who headlined Las Vegas clubs throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, passed away at age 97 on Dec. 31 in Las Vegas.  

Having grown up on Chicago’s North Side, Greene served in the Navy during World War II. He studied Theatre at Columbia and discovered a knack for comedy by performing at nightclubs, eventually landing at the Prevnue Lounge in New Orleans where he remained for six years.  

Greene’s fans included many leading comics, including Bob Hope and Johnny Carson. In Las Vegas, he opened for a young Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra hand-picked Greene as his opening act. He eventually became a headliner in his own right, specializing in improvisation and known for transforming any situation into something funny.  

On the small screen, Greene was a regular guest of variety and talk shows and appeared in “Love Boat,’ “Laverne & Shirley,” and “Mad About You.” He can also seen in the films “Tony Rome” (1961), Mel Brookes’ “History of the World Part I” (1981), and “Splash” (1984). 

Greene leaves behind his wife and two daughters and a legacy of laughter.