Sherman, Allan

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SHERMAN, ALLAN (1924–1973), U.S. singer, television producer, and writer. Born Allan Copelon in Chicago, Illinois, his parents were divorced when he was six. He never saw his father again, and in time took his mother's maiden name. His grandfather took him to see Yiddish plays, which inspired his love for theater. After he graduated high school, Sherman enrolled in the University of Illinois, where he wrote "The Compus Scout," a humor and gossip column for the school's daily newspaper. He enlisted in the army in December 1942 but was discharged five months later due to asthma. Sherman moved to New York and secured a job in May 1945 writing gags for radio comedian Lew Parker. He wrote jokes for Cavalcade of Stars and The 54th Street Revue, but his big break came with his co-creation of the game show I've Got a Secret (1952–67). The executive producers fired Sherman in 1958, saying that his focus was on too many outside projects. He continued to produce other programs until 1960, when he developed the game show Your Surprise Package for CBS and moved to Hollywood. While the program was canceled in 1962, Sherman's parodies had caught the attention of Hollywood's comedy luminaries. Using his connections, Sherman put out his first album on Warner Bros. Records, My Son, The Folk Singer (1962), which was followed by My Son, the Celebrity (1962), both of which were eventually certified gold. Even President Kennedy could be heard singing Sherman's songs. In 1963, Sherman released My Son, the Nut, which included the hit single Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, a summer camp parody sung to Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours. Two weeks after the single's release, he served as guest host of The Tonight Show for one week, introducing Bill Cosby in his first television appearance. In 1965, he released his autobiography A Gift of Laughter, but a failed television special and disappointing sales from five subsequent albums led Warner Bros. to drop Sherman in 1966. Sherman continued working on projects, including providing the voice of Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat in The Cat in the Hat (1971) and Dr. Seuss on the Loose (1973), before his death from emphysema.


"Sherman, Allan, in: Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 9 (1994); "Sherman, Allan," in: Contemporary Authors Online (Gale, 2002).

[Adam Wills (2nd ed.)]

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Sherman, Allan

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