During a long career that began shortly after World War II and ranged from Broadway through the early days of television to, most recently, appearances on Showtime’s Shameless, Carter served as a TV host, took on both comedic and dramatic roles, frequently showed up as a game show panelist and also directed.
Born Jack Charkin on June 24, 1922, to Jewish parents who had immigrated from Russia, Carter began flexing his comic muscles while still in his teens, appearing as a mimic on The Major Bowes Amateur Hour radio show. With hopes of one day becoming a dramatic actor, he also attended the Academy of Dramatic Art.
He served in the army in World War II, then found himself on Broadway in Call Me Mister. After first appearing on Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theater on TV, he spent two years hosting the television variety program Cavalcade of Stars, which led to his own show on NBC, The Jack Carter Show, which lasted three years and was part of the Saturday Night Review.
Carter made more than 50 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and also guested on shows such as The Dean Martin Show, The Andy Williams Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, Laugh-In and numerous Bob Hope Comedy Specials. He was a frequent panelist on Match Game through the ’70s and ’80s as well as a guest star on The $10,000 Pyramid.
Carter is survived by his wife of 44 years, Roxanne, sons Michael Carter and Chase Carter, daughter Wendy Carter and grandchildren Jake and Ava.