Billy De Wolfe

Active - 1943 - 1973  |   Born - Feb 18, 1907   |   Died - Mar 5, 1974   |   Genres - Comedy, Musical

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Toothy comic actor Billy DeWolfe entered vaudeville as a musical comedy performer in his teens. He gained fame in several nightclub and Broadway revues of the late 1930s and early 1940s, in which he generally portrayed an overemphatic effeminate character. His best-known routine was "Mrs. Murgatroyd," wherein the mustachioed DeWolfe, decked out in a flowery hat and steel-rimmed specs, impersonated a middle-aged lady "doing lunch" after a shopping spree. He repeated this bit in 1946's Blue Skies, one of several Paramount releases to benefit from DeWolfe's presence between 1943 and 1950. DeWolfe's campy deportment struck a responsive chord with TV audiences in the 1960s and 1970s; he made dozens of appearances on Johnny Carson's late-night talkfest, invariably bringing down the house with his lisping catchphrase "Busy, busy, bizz-zzeee!" Billy DeWolfe was also a regular on three TV sitcoms of that era: That Girl (as Marlo Thomas' acting coach), Good Morning World and The Queen and I.

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