Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer Nose-talgia #27: Ruth Buzzi's Birthday -- One of TV's Top Laugh Ladies!

(We apologize for some formatting errors in this post -- we will correct these asap.)

Great comedy has always been a stalwart of television, and though each era thinks that it's the only one to have enjoyed comic brilliance, audiences have never suffered from a dearth of laughter.  In the 1960s as the older comedians -- Benny, Hope, Lucy among other -- were winding down their TV efforts, there was a resurgence of variety shows starring singers and just before that a show came around that changed the face of American TV comedy.

Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In premiered in September of 1967 and for the next over 130 episodes American comedy was never the same.  U.S. audiences had probably never seen anything quite like it -- it was cheeky, sexy, and lightning fast, featuring an ensemble cast of comedians headed by comics Dan Rowan and Dick Martin.  One of the people making Laugh-In so laugh-filled was actress/singer/comedienne Ruth Buzzi who is celebrating a birthday today. The East Coast-born Buzzi started out as an energetic high school cheerleader whose natural ebullience propelled her into show business where her multiple talents and boundless comedic gifts were soon in demand.

After studying at the Pasadena Playhouse and co-starring in stage and musical engagements across the country, she began to make a name for herself in TV variety shows, eventually leading to her career-making work on Laugh-In.  (Footage of Ruth Buzzi's act with Don DeLuise from a variety show -- probably The Entertainers -- introed by John Davidson is available here.)  She also starred on The Steve Allen Comedy Hour and you can see the beginnings of her famous Laugh-In Glady Ormphby character in this intro sequence:


From Laugh-In onward there was no stopping Ruth Buzzi.  She became known and loved for her versatility, her ability to create characters both hilarious and touching, and for her musical talents which she frequently displayed on Laugh-In and during her ongoing career.  Buzzi was a mainstay on the many variety programs airing during the 1970s and 1980s, and her resume is deep and impressive.  She also made successful forays into dramatic roles which further displayed her vast range.  The best way to appreciate the divine Miss Buzzi is to simply enjoy her performances!

A little of her comedic virtuosity on Laugh-In:


 More here and here.

Night Gallery "Witches Feast" 1971 with Agnes Moorehead


Ruth Buzzi was a frequent guest on The Dean Martin Comedy Hour and on his celebrity roasts:

Ruth also made several guest appearances on The Carol Burnett Show during the early 1970s:

She lent her comic gifts to The Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour:



ABC Afterschool Special from 1974:


Guesting on Tony Orlando and Dawn:

Ruth Buzzi guests on The Muppet Show in 1976:

  from 1976

Ruth co-starred with Jim Nabors in the Saturday morning kid show The Last Saucer in '76:

Ruth recorded a song which made it onto the charts:

  from 1977

From the TV movie Once Upon a Brothers Grimm in 1978:


The Donny and Marie Show from February 1976:

And assorted other Ruth Buzzi comedy skits and musical numbers from The Donny and Marie Show:



Lyle Waggonner and Ruth Buzzi team for a hosting gig:

Ruth was a semi-regular on Sesame Street starting in the early '90s:



Jo Anne Worley, Ruth Buzzi and the cast of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In Past and Present Christmas Special perform on the 67th Annual Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade televised by NBC (1993)

Ruth made a spectacular cameo on the soap opera Passions in 2003:


Ruth being photographed on her Texas ranch in 2010:

And some new comedy from Ruth from 2011:

Ruth Buzzi and her husband have been proud residents of Texas for several decadesand she keeps busy with performing (including lots of voiceovers) and a full schedule of charity appearances for her favorite causes, plus raising cattle on their ranch.  You can also keep up with Ruth on her Twitter account!

The Flaming Nose wishes a very Happy Birthday today to Ruth Buzzi, one of the genuine legends of TV Comedy!

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