R.I.P. Jackie Mason, the comedian who famously feuded with Ed Sullivan

The Emmy-winning actor had a career that spanned over half a century

Jackie Mason, Emmy and Tony-winning comedican and actor, passed away at the age of 93.

Before discovering entertainment, Mason became a rabbi, just like his own father and grandfather. At age 28, he quit the synagoge in favor of a career in comedy. By the 1960s, his career had taken off and he was making up to $10,000 (equivalent today to $83,000) weekly performing in New York nightclubs.

His career hit a hitch with a famous tiff with Ed Sullivan. In 1964, during a stand-up performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Ed Sullivan held up two fingers off-camera to indicate that Mason had two minutes to wrap up his routine. Mason began incorporating his hands into the act, which Sullivan reportedly misinterpreted as Mason making an obscene gesture. Sullivan cancelled Mason's $45,000 appearance contract, and Sullivan's influence in the entertainment industry meant that Mason was labeled as obscene and difficult to work with for decades to come.

Mason sued Sullivan for libel over the damage to his career. Two years later, Sullivan had Mason back on the show and publicly apologized to the comedian. Mason would go on to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show five more times.

Younger fans may recall Mason from his recurring role on The Simpsons as Rabbi Krustofski, which won him his third Emmy award.


 
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

34 Comments

Post a comment
vinman63 10 months ago
Krusty the clown’s dad died.
11 months ago
Jackie Mason was a brilliant, funny insightful man, but I remember being shocked when he walked off a talk show because a black man was also booked on the show. I was gravely disappointed in him.
dangler1907 Pilaf 11 months ago
Mason described himself as "an equal opportunity abuser.” His targets ranged from Jewish people to black people to Frank Sinatra and the "Italian gang".
Arjay118 11 months ago
I am saddened to read that comedian Jackie Mason has passed. He was my late parents favorite comic. And do I have fond wonderful memories of this hysterical entertainer. The first memory is when he accepted and had breakfast at my parents house in Pikesville, Maryland. And the second memory is when my mother and I took a bus trip to see him on Broadway. Sadly, I got off the bus with a raging headache, so I spent the entire show in the ladies room with a hot cloth on my head. When the show was over, my mother came to collect me and we made our way backstage to kibbitz. When he asked us how we liked the show ("Jackie Mason's The World According To Me!"), I was so afraid to tell him I spent the entire time in the bathroom. But I did and he had us go to the stage manager because he wanted me to see the show. I could come back at anytime gratis on him. And we did! Because we didn't have to buy tickets, mom and I treated ourselves to Sardi's after. And that is where I met Jack Weston who was so impressed with my knowledge of show business, I left him sitting on his bar stool doing his best Macaulay Culkin "Home Alone" impression (hands on his face!). Well, Jackie is once again entertaining my folks! But we lost another gem!! 😢
MrsPhilHarris Arjay118 11 months ago
Nice story.
Melfins 11 months ago
One of the funniest comedians ever.
Deleted 11 months ago
This comment has been removed.
MrsPhilHarris 11 months ago
I never found him funny either but I really don’t remember his humour. On the other hand, I never found Richard Pryor funny either.
dangler1907 11 months ago
Pryor did caricatures. Mason did insights. Huge difference.
dangler1907 11 months ago
Then you didn't know "this guy". Try Youtube if you want to know "this guy".
MrsPhilHarris 11 months ago
I see.
Tresix 10 months ago
“Caddyshack” wasn’t remade, it had a sequel. I guess you didn’t see the Roman numeral in the title.
10 months ago
This comment has been removed.
MrsPhilHarris 11 months ago
Good grief! I thought he had died decades ago.
Moody MrsPhilHarris 11 months ago
I was thinking the same thing when I saw this story.
WordsmithWorks 11 months ago
Wasn't he the voice of the aardvark in the "Ant and the Aardvark" cartoon that played with the "Pink Panther" cartoons?
Load previous comments
justjeff LH 10 months ago
...to me the Aardvark sounded more like Joey Bishop.

I personally found Jackie Mason unfunny and quite obnoxious... (although I'm well aware that I'm probably in the minority here with that opinion)... May he rest in peace - but he was *no* favorite of mine...
justjeff justjeff 10 months ago
Would you believe that MeTV would not allow me to include Bishop's catch-phrase? The phrase starts with a son and ends with a gun... with the words "of a" in the middle... but the automated message said that word was not "family friendly"... Imagine that!
LH justjeff 10 months ago
And I agree with you. John Byner did a good job imitating JM… but I didn’t like JM much either…not that I saw much of him, but he reminded me of Rodney Dangerfield, of the same ilk
LoveMETV22 justjeff 10 months ago
OMG , I have never heard or even seen that. They have a filter? There's been numerous times people have posted questionable comments far more "not family friendly". Wonder why it didn't catch those. It would save MeTV staff from reviewing and removing flagged comments. TY for the share.
LoveMETV22 11 months ago
RIP Jackie Mason- There's a number of interesting articles outside of this short story that give a little more history. But Thank You MeTV for the article.
JHP 11 months ago
another loss - too many in the last 10 years :(

yet the ones still alive are causing havoc
dewyduster 11 months ago
Ed Sullivan tried to cancel Jackie 1960s style :)

P.S. MeTV: tell your writers to use spellcheck. No such word as "comedican" and it's "synagogue", not "synaogoge".
Zip dewyduster 11 months ago
Though he did have class enough to publicly apologize to him.
dewyduster 11 months ago
Spellcheck and "Autocorrect" are the bane of my existence.
justjeff dewyduster 10 months ago
MeTV spell-checking their articles is about as rare as an honest politician!
15inchBlackandWhite 11 months ago
Earlier in his life he was actually a Rabbi leading a congregation in Pennsylvania. In later years he had worked as a fill-in host on political talk radio shows.
Michael 11 months ago
He's in Caddyshack II, taking over from Rodney Dangerfield in the first film. Not the same character, but both serve the same purpose.
dewyduster Michael 11 months ago
Jackie and Randy Quaid were the only good things about that movie.
LoveMETV22 Michael 11 months ago
I'd rather watch Happy Gilmore if watching a sport comedy film, just opinion.
justjeff LoveMETV22 10 months ago
An Adam Sandler movie? I'd rather watch a test pattern! (However, I have seen the clip where Bob Barker belts Sandler's character... THAT I liked...)
LoveMETV22 justjeff 10 months ago
Lol! Do they still broadcast test patterns? Aside from the EBS ones. The only place I've seen one is in the background of Toon In With Me when Bill is conversing with Toony. Yeah the scene where Bob Barker belts Happy is funny.
justjeff 10 months ago
This comment has been removed.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?