American actor and comedian Mort Sahl died Tuesday at the age of 94, according to the ” New York Times “. Considered the father of modern stand-up, the actor marked several decades with his political humor … and counted Woody Allen among his fans.
The stand-up comedian Mort Sahl died on Tuesday (26/10) at his home in Mill Valley, California (USA). The information was confirmed by Sahl’s friend Lucy Mercer to the New York Times.
Some social media users claim that he was suffering from heart disease in recent years. Lucy, however, did not reveal the cause of Sahl’s death.
Mort Sahl hosted the first Grammy Awards in 1959 and co-hosted the 31st Academy Awards the same year. On August 15, 1960, he was on the cover of “Time”.
Sahl was ranked 40th on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time revealed in the 2005 special.
Back in the days when artists wore only tuxedos, Mort Sahl took to the stage in sweater and moccasins, a newspaper in hand. This sniper often asked spectators: “Is there anyone here that I have not offended?”
After President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, Mort Sahl’s popularity waned as he devoted much of his shows to ridiculing the official account of his death. But after the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s, which led to Richard Nixon’s resignation, his career resumed. His outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War also bolstered his rating.
American actor Harry Shearer paid tribute to him. “Rest in peace, Mort Sahl.” He simply invented modern American political satire. He was still doing excellent stand-ups on Periscope until recently. And although he’s best known for his scathing wit, he’s always been an expert on jokes, ”he wrote on his Twitter account.
He was born in Montreal, Canada, on May 11, 1927, two years before the New York Stock Exchange crash, but grew up in Los Angeles—his father worked at the FBI. According to the Los Angeles Times, Mort was a “revolutionary comedian” who influenced the likes of Lenny Bruce or Dave Chappelle — he also revolutionized stand-up shows in the 1950s by bringing “shrewd” political and social satire to the stage.
Sahl broke the stereotypes associated with the stand-up at a time when comedians dressed in tuxedos told jokes whose protagonists were the women themselves and also the mothers-in-law, trying to bring to the fore themes and names glued to the Cold War, such as President Eisenhower or the senator Joseph McCarthy. In 1957, an article published in the New Yorker described his lines as follows: “A unique cross between a philosophy article and the jargon of modern jazz”.
Sahl’s career was made up of ups and downs. In the mid-1960s, the comedian’s popularity plummeted after he devoted himself to ridiculing the Warren Commission, established to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Over the next few decades, Shal would occasionally resurface, but years earlier he was assuredly considered a “star” and a “cult hero of the intelligentsia,” according to the NYT. It was a frequent name in comedy clubs in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco and brought together celebrity audiences. By the early 1960s, Shal had made his Broadway debut, had written jokes for Kennedy’s presidential campaign, presented the Oscars, appeared on the cover of Time and in two films.
He was married four times, relationships that all ended in divorce, and their only child died in 1996 following a drug overdose.
Her four marriages ended in divorces. Her only son, Mort Sahl Jr., died in 1996 at age 19.