Obituary of Sammy Shore
Sammy Shore, the 92-year-young legendary comedian and entertainer, passed away at his home in Las Vegas Saturday, May 18, 2019, surrounded by his wife, Suzanne, and family.
Sammy was born February 7, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois, to Lena and Hyman Shore. He had three brothers: Philip, Bernard and Morris.
He attended Wells High School in Chicago and often joked, “I was the only Jew on an all-Polish basketball team!”
After graduation, Sammy enlisted in the Navy; and upon discharge attended the University of Miami.
While working the Catskills, Sammy was partnered with the incomparable Shecky Greene for a short time. Over his almost 70-year career, he opened for Tony Orlando, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, and Sammy Davis, Jr., to name a few. In fact, it would be easier to list those with whom he did not work. Sammy was their star; and they chose him time and again to open for them.
Sammy’s career skyrocketed when Elvis tapped him to open for his comeback in 1969 at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. He continued to open for Elvis’ International Hotel and road shows for many years.
On April 7, 1972, Sammy and his writing partner, Rudy Deluca, founded the famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles. It would become the premiere stand-up comedy club in the world.
While living in Los Angeles, he was honored to be a member of the famous “Friars Club,” where he would lunch daily with dear friends and comedy legends Sid Caesar, Milton Berle and Red Buttons, as well as participate in their infamous “roasts.”
Over the last 20 years Sammy was particularly proud to tour and perform with his son, Pauly, the only father/son comedians to do so.
He was voted Best Comedy Act in Atlantic City by the Atlantic City Press and on July 4, 1990, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors proclaimed that day “Sammy Shore Day.” Over his illustrious career Sammy received countless awards, too numerous to mention.
He also earned the distinction of being the only comedian to work Harrah’s Casinos and Hotels more than any other entertainer.
Sammy was an accomplished author: “The Warm-Up,” “70 Sucks!” (For which he won five Drama Logue Theatre Awards and Critics Choice Award) and “The Man Who Made Elvis Laugh.” Before his passing, he was putting the finishing touches on yet another titled, “Last Comic Sitting (Confessions of a Pissed-Off Comic).”
He recorded a number of albums: “Brother Sam, Come Heal With Me” and “70 Sucks, but 80 is Worse,” to name a few.
He also wrote and performed in a number of one-man shows and appeared in numerous films, such as “The Bellboy,” with Jerry Lewis and “Life Stinks,” with Mel Brooks. He was a guest on the Tony Orlando and Pointer Sisters’ TV shows, as well as Redd Foxx’s “Sanford and Son.” However, he was most proud of his appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, as you had “arrived” if asked to appear on Ed’s show.
Upon moving to Las Vegas, he and Suzanne were appalled at the overwhelming number of abandoned animals; so, they joined with the Nevada SPCA to host fundraisers under the umbrella of “Funny Bones.” They raised monies to pay for critical care for animals who otherwise would not have been adopted. When Sammy called, every available entertainer donated their time and talent for free – all they’d say is “where and when.” As a result, rather than being euthanized, countless animals found “forever homes.”
Sammy leaves behind his wife of 29 years, Suzanne Dennie Shore, his three dogs: JJ, Talullah and Matty, his four children: Scott, Sandi (pre-deceased), Peter and Pauly, as well as two grandchildren: Lola and Caleb.
A private memorial service will be held at Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 23, 2019.
A celebration of Sammy Shore’s life will be held in Los Angeles at the Comedy Store (date to be determined) as well as Las Vegas (venue and date to be determined).
Words can’t express how much his comedic gift, friendship and beneficence will be missed. The bright light he shone and the laughter he brought into the lives of everyone he touched will never dim.
Sammy has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Nevada SPCA, earmarked for critical care.