Milton Berle (born Milton Berlinger) (July 12, 1908 March 27, 2002) was an extremely popular Jewish American comedian, whose career spanned vaudeville, radio, television, and film, but who made his biggest mark in television. His greatest success was as the headliner for Texaco Star Theater on NBC from 1948 to June 14, 1955 (also known as the Buick-Berle Show when Buick became its sponsor in 1953). Berle was originally one of several rotating hosts for the program, but was selected as the permanent emcee in the fall of 1948, and quickly took the show to Number One in the early days of television ratings, swamping all competition with an 80 percent share of the viewing audience. Many theaters and other businesses closed on Tuesday nights, as people stayed home to watch the antics of this highly visual comedian.
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