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Dick Cavett (1936)

Dick Cavett excelled athletically and scholastically in high school, receiving a scholarship to Yale. Upon arriving in New York, he tried and failed to get a job at RCA's broadcast subsidiary NBC, but managed to land a leading role (and a 100-dollar salary) in an Army Signal Corps film after which Cavett took a variety of odd jobs. While working as a copy boy at Time magazine, he impulsively wrote a two-page monologue for TV talk host Jack Paar, then passed his notes along to a bemused Paar at NBC's Radio City headquarters. Thus began Cavett's career as a comedy writer, not only for Paar but for his Tonight Show successor, Johnny Carson. Encouraged by such showbiz friends as Woody Allen and Groucho Marx, Cavett became a standup comedian. His success in this field led to an offer from ABC to host a daytime talk show in 1968. Having never completely abandoned acting, he occasionally appeared in dramatic roles on TV and Broadway, served as a commercial spokesman for a variety of products, and was seen in a handful of films. Cast as "himself," he made fleeting appearances in Annie Hall (1977), Health (1979), Nightmare on Elm Street 3 (1987), and Forrest Gump (1994), and was afforded a rare character part as a snooty intellectual in Beetlejuice (1988). Since 1964, Dick Cavett has been married to actress Carrie Nye.

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