Birth Name: Thomas Garrison Morfit
Birth: January 31, 1915 – Baltimore – Maryland, USA
Death: November 28, 1993 – Hilton Head Island – South Carolina, USA
Cause of death: Emphysema
Burial: Forest Lawn Cemetery – Northeast Harbor, Hancock County, Maine, USA
Years on IGaS: 1952-1964 as host
Family Information: Garry was married to Eleanor Borum Little in 1939, and they had two children, John Mason Morfit and Thomas Garrison Morfit. Eleanor died in 1974. In 1975 he married Mary Elizabeth De Chant.
On the Set:
Garry was a fantastic host. A very loveable guy, Garry never overshadowed the guests and panelists. It’s very easy to get swept away and forget that you are on a show, not the show, but somehow it never affected Garry. He guided the show along as a pro, letting guests answer questions and panelists ask them. Garry served as a moderator, a clarifier, and an introducer, but never THE star. He was good even when the show went wrong. Sometimes the timing of the show was off, so he would dance until they were off the air. He had a “rubber legs” dance that he would do, which always got laughs.
You could tell he had compassion for all people, and he was a very loyal friend. In fact, Henry wrote of this in his book, “Here’s Morgan!” pages 213-214. Many thanks to JohnXXVII for transcribing this!:
“One night I was doing my own local TV show and, in lighting a cigarette, I remarked that I was creating my own cancer. It didn’t occur to me, of course, that ‘Secret’ was sponsored by Winston, the w.k. cancer purveyors. But it did occur to a viewer, a well-wisher who got in touch with Winston- Salem so fast that they fired me at dawn.
Garry flew down to North Carolina and talked them out of it.
What can you do with a guy like that? More to the point, what can you do without him?”
That alone speaks millions. The world would be a better place if we had more people like him around.
Facts About Garry:
- He made Carol Burnett famous by having her be a cast member on “The Garry Moore Show”
For a really great bio, check out the Museum.tv archive.
This summary was loosely based on the above bio:
Garry begin his career in radio using his real name. Because Morfit was hard to pronounce, he changed it to Moore. CBS could tell that he had talent, and in 1950 they gave him his own show, “The Garry Moore Show.” It was hugely successful, reportedly being the second largest source of revenue for CBS. The show was a variety program featuring skits, singing, monologues, and audience participation. Durward Kirby was Garry’s sidekick on the show, and has appeared on IGaS a few times. Carol Burnett was made famous on Garry’s show, and Allen Funt’s “Candid Camera” was a regular segment on the show.
Garry also hosted “To Tell the Truth.” In 1977, Garry left the show and television for good when he developed throat cancer.
He was immensely influential, and all television hosts today owe him a lot for leading the way.
From jknight855: …from my readings on the subject, Garry Moore got the shortening of his stage name due to a contest conducted on a radio program on which he was a regular called “Club Matinee.” The winner, IIRC, was a woman from Moore’s hometown who won $50(big money at that time)for her submission.