Dana, Bill, 1924-

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Most people know Bill Dana as "Jose Jimenez" a popular character he created on the Steve Allen show in the 1950s and continued to perform throughout the 60s. But Dana was also a writer, producer, recording artist, and comedian. Dana was born William Szathmary on October 5, 1924 in Quincy Massachusetts to Joseph and Dena Szathmary, the youngest of six children. After graduating Emerson College in Boston in 1950 on the GI Bill (having served in the 263rd and 66th Infantry during WWII), Dana began as a page at NBC's famous Studio 6B while performing comedy in nightclubs around New York with partner Gene Wood. In the 1950s he performed on the "Imogene Coca Show", "The Danny Thomas Show" and "The Martha Raye Show" and wrote for and produced the "Spike Jones Show". His career took another major turn when he began writing stand-up routines for the young comedian Don Adams including the now-famous "Would you believe" jokes. From there, he was brought in as a writer for the "Steve Allen Show" (ABC). He starred in and produced "The Bill Dana Show" on NBC (1963-65). His comedy albums, as both Jose and Bill Dana, were top-sellers in the 1960s. He helped launch the careers of comedic greats such as Don Adams, Jackie Mason, Don Knotts, and Jim Nabors. He was nominated for several Emmy awards for his comedy writing. He was one of the founders of A & M records and helped start the career of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. He's authored books (notably The Laughter Prescription. Ballantine Press, 1982 with Dr. Lawrence Peters) and ecology cartoons (Ecolo-Jest. Price-Stern-Sloan, 1972). He was a top executive at the CIA (California International Artists' talent agency). He produced the new "Milton Berle Show". Another career highlight was as writer of the top-rated episode of "All in the Family" featuring Sammy Davis Jr., consistently rated in the top ten of TV Guide's "Top 100 television episodes of all time". Dana was a featured guest-star on many television sitcoms including "The Golden Girls" as Uncle Angelo in the 1980s.

From the description of Bill Dana papers 1940-2006. (Emerson College). WorldCat record id: 153181525

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Dana, Bill, 1924-. Bill Dana papers 1940-2006. Emerson College, Iwasaki LIbrary
referencedIn Boulder Chamber of Commerce. Arapaho Glacier hike : 29th annual hike. Boulder Public Library
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Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, Don, 1923-2005. person
associatedWith Allen, Steve, 1921-2000. person
associatedWith Berle, Milton. person
associatedWith Boulder Chamber of Commerce. corporateBody
associatedWith Carpenter, M. Scott (Malcolm Scott), 1925- person
associatedWith Jones, Spike, 1911-1965. person
associatedWith Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963. person
associatedWith Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968. person
associatedWith Knotts, Don, 1924-2006. person
associatedWith Lear, Norman. person
associatedWith Schirra, Wally. person
associatedWith Thomas, Danny. person
associatedWith Wood, Gene. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Jewish comedians
Television--Production and direction
Hispanic American comedians
Stand-up comedy
Television scripts
Male comedians
Television comedy writers


Birth 1924-10-05



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