Comedian Bill Dana, a Nashville resident who rose to fame in the 1950s and ’60s with his character “Jose Jimenez,” has died.
Mr. Dana died Thursday at his home in Nashville, Tennessee, according to Emerson College, his alma mater. He was 92.
An early career breakthrough came for Dana when he wrote the famed “Would You Believe…” jokes for Don Adams. That led to him being hired by Steve Allen, on whose show he served as head writer.
It was for a sketch on “The Steve Allen Show” that Dana created “Jose Jimenez.” The character’s shy, Spanish-accented introduction, “My name … Jose … Jimenez,” became a national catchphrase.
That success eventually led to Dana getting his own NBC sitcom, “The Bill Dana Show,” which aired from 1963-1965.
He recorded eight best-selling comedy albums, and made many TV appearances while continuing behind the scenes as a comedy writer. He wrote an award-winning episode of “All in the Family” (“Sammy’s Visit”), and had a recurring role on “The Golden Girls” as “Uncle Angelo.”
He called Nashville home for the last 15 years, and is survived by his wife, Evelyn Shular Dana.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation has published an extensive tribute to Mr. Dana, which includes remarks from several of his famous friends.
TV legend Norman Lear said Mr. Dana was “as dear and caring as he was funny. And my GOD – he was funny!”
Frazier Moore, AP Television Writer, contributed to this report.
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