Mourning Miltie3/31/2002 07:00:00 PM Eastern
Legendary television comic Milton Berle, 93, died on March 27. The famed host of NBC's Texaco Star Theater
in television's infancy helped popularize the medium itself and inspired millions to buy television sets to watch his show. Here's how he was eulogized by some who knew him:
"NBC's first TV superstar, Milton Berle did more than any other individual to bring television to the nation. In the early years, there were Tuesday nights when virtually every television set in the country was tuned in to see 'Mr. Television.'"
—Bob Wright, NBC Chairman and CEO
"Whatever you see on television, Milton did it first. We used to have a lot of variety shows on television. No one knew what they were doing, no one knew how to do it. He showed them how to do it."
—Buddy Hackett, Los Angeles Times
"From the first days of my career, he was one of my comedic heroes. He was always a great mentor. His style of comedy will never be replaced."
—Don Rickles, from press statement published in the Los Angeles Times
"There was always the sense, while Milton Berle was alive, that television was still a new invention and we were living television history. Now that Milton Berle is gone, one realizes that television is the kind of thing you're going to put in museums and talk about as history. He is that seminal a figure. One critic once said he was the fuse that lit the bomb of television, and I think that was not hyperbole."
—Robert J. Thompson, founder, Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, Baltimore Sun
"What a remarkable man, what a remarkable career. Eighty-eight years in show business, a brilliant comedian, an accomplished actor, a lifelong friend. We are among the select few who could call him 'kid.'"
—Bob and Dolores Hope, in a written statement, New York Daily News
"Milton Berle had a great influence on most of the comedians today, including me. He was a true original."
—Johnny Carson, The Sacramento Bee