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Hal Kanter

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Hal Kanter
BornDecember 18, 1918
DiedNovember 6, 2011(2011-11-06) (aged 92)
Occupation(s)Writer, producer, director
Years active1954–2008
Known forWork as creator/executive producer of the NBC-TV series Julia as well as writer for numerous Academy Awards broadcasts
Spouse(s)Doris Kanter (1941-2011) (his death, 3 children)[1]

Hal Kanter (December 18, 1918 – November 6, 2011)[2] was an American writer, producer and director, principally for comedy actors such as Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, and Elvis Presley (in Loving You and Blue Hawaii), for both feature films and television. Kanter helped Tennessee Williams turn the play by Williams into the film version of The Rose Tattoo. He was regularly credited as a writer for the Academy Award broadcasts. Kanter was also the creator and executive producer of the television series Julia.


Kanter was born to a Jewish family in Savannah, Georgia.[3] He started his career peddling jokes to Eddie Cantor for his radio program. Kanter recalls, "I'd listen to his show and say, 'I can write jokes as funny as that,' so I walked from my rooming house to his show, and told the guard, 'Mr. Kanter is here to see Mr. Cantor, figuring he'd see me because of our names, although his real name was Iskowitch. I was seventeen years old and had the nerve of a burglar."[4] Although Kanter was not hired by Cantor, one of his writers, Hugh Wedlock Jr., paid Kanter $10 per week to write jokes. Wedlock would then resell Kanter's jokes to Cantor. Kanter stated, "So I became a ghostwriter to a ghostwriter."[5]

March 1941 joined the United States Army serving till the end of World War II in 1945. Kanter wrote, produced, and acted in Armed Forces Radio Service shows aired over stations KOA (AM), KLZ, and other local stations in Colorado. He built and ran radio stations in Naval Base Eniwetok and Naval Base Guam; and served as a combat correspondent on Iwo Jima.

Kanter's autobiography, So Far, So Funny: My Life in Show Business, was published in 1999 by McFarland & Company, Inc., of Jefferson, North Carolina. The book chronicles his early life, his struggles in Hollywood during his early years, and his eventual success in show business in general and as a comedy writer in particular.

Kanter died at his home in Encino, California on November 6, 2011, at the age of 92.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://variety.com/2014/tv/people-news/writer-doris-kanter-widow-of-comedy-scribe-hal-kanter-dies-at-95-1201159272/
  2. ^ "Welcome to the US Petabox". Archived from the original on August 26, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2020. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  3. ^ [1] Archived August 26, 2013, at the Wayback Machine November 17, 2011
  4. ^ Nachman, Gerald (1998). Raised on Radio, p. 41. Pantheon Books, New York. ISBN 037540287X.
  5. ^ Nachman, Gerald (1998). Raised on Radio, p. 41. Pantheon Books, New York. ISBN 037540287X.

Further reading[edit]

  • Young, Jordan R. (1999) The Laugh Crafters: Comedy Writing in Radio & TV's Golden Age. Beverly Hills: Past Times Publishing ISBN 0-940410-37-0

External links[edit]