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Bert Convy

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Although best remembered for his lengthy career as a television game show host, Bert Convy also enjoyed a run as a recording artist, even cracking the U.S. Top 10 as a member of the early rock & roll trio the Cheers. Born Bernard Whalen Convy in St. Louis on July 23, 1933, Convy graduated from UCLA and pursued a career as a professional baseball player, patrolling left field for the Far West League's Klamath Falls, Oregon team in 1951. As a member of the Philadelphia Phillies' farm system, he played for a series of Western Association teams before he lost his starting job and abandoned the game altogether. Convy returned to Los Angeles and, with fellow singers Gil Garfield and Sue Allen, formed the Cheers and recorded demos for the legendary songwriting team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. In the autumn of 1955, Capitol released their rendition of Lieber and Stoller's "Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots" as a single and it charted at number six. Capitol released five Cheers singles in all and two more followed in 1957 on Mercury. After the group dissolved, Convy mounted a solo career and recorded the novelty effort "The Monster's Hop" for Contender in 1959. That same year, he appeared in the stage production Billy Barnes Revue and its accompanying Decca soundtrack. The exposure brought Convy to the attention of B-movie filmmaker Roger Corman, who promptly cast the actor in his cult-classic Bucket of Blood. After a series of guest roles on television series including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 77 Sunset Strip, and Perry Mason, Convy originated the role of Perchik in his 1964 performance of the now-classic Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof. Convy also appeared on its best-selling soundtrack LP. Two years later, he originated the character of Clifford Bradshaw in another Broadway landmark, Cabaret. He was also a fixture of TV variety showcases and talk shows of the period and headlined several proposed primetime pilots that were rejected by network brass. After briefly returning to recording with the 1970 Era single "Just Give Me a Chance," Convy signed on to host the popular daytime game show Tattletales. With his good looks and affable personality, he proved the perfect host, winning a Daytime Emmy Award for his work on the program. In 1976, Convy also hosted his own short-lived primetime variety series, The Late Summer-Early Fall Bert Convy Show, and was a frequent guest star on the anthologies The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. Following the 1978 cancellation of Tattletales, Convy co-starred in the failed 1983 sitcom It's Not Easy and went on to host NBC's Super Password for five seasons. From 1987 to 1990, he also hosted the syndicated Win, Lose or Draw, which he co-produced with longtime friend Burt Reynolds. Convy died from a brain tumor on July 15, 1991. ~ Jason Ankeny

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