Joe Connelly

Active - 1955 - 1969  |   Born - Jan 1, 1916   |   Died - Feb 13, 2003   |   Genres - Comedy

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The producer/writer and co-creator of the television sitcom classic Leave it to Beaver, Joe Connelly moved into television after finding success in radio comedy. Born in New York City in 1917, Connelly worked for the merchant marine early on, later hired by advertising giant J. Walter Thompson. It was while working for Thompson that Connelly would meet future partner Bob Mosher, and the duo quickly departed from the Thompson agency to pursue a career in radio with work on the "Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy" radio show, later writing for numerous other radio programs before serving a 12-year stint on "Amos and Andy" (both the radio and television versions). The duo was nominated for an Oscar for their work on the film The Private War of Major Benson, though the majority of their success lay in such television series' as The Munsters and Leave it to Beaver. Connelly's young sons were the inspiration for Wally and the Beaver, and the famous nickname of the title character came from a moniker given to one of Connelly's merchant marine shipmates. After producing Elvis Presley's final feature, Change of Habit (1969), Connelly's career was sidelined by a near fatal aneurysm. A twice-married widower and father of seven, Joe Connelly died as the result of stroke complications in February 2003. He was 86.

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