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F. Shuster, 85; Regular on 'Ed Sullivan Show'

January 15, 2002|From Associated Press

TORONTO — Comedian Frank Shuster, who with his partner Johnny Wayne appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" 67 times, has died. He was 85.

Shuster, the sunnier, subtler and taller half of the team nicknamed "The Kings of Canadian Comedy," died Sunday of pneumonia in a Toronto hospital.

The Wayne and Shuster team-whose comedy was a blend of gentle satire and zany fun-first appeared on Sullivan's show in May 1958, spoofing the assassination scene in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." It was called "Rinse the Blood Off My Toga.'

Born in Toronto, Shuster met Wayne in high school, where they performed together in revues. They earned bachelor's degrees in English from the University of Toronto.

In 1941, they made their first appearance on Canadian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

They entertained Canadian troops during World War II and, later, the Korean War. They moved to television in the 1950s, where they stayed until 1989.

Shuster once said the comedy team clicked because the partners had opposite senses of humor.

"Johnny's is very broad and mine is subtle. He overplays and I underplay, and we meet halfway," he said.

The duo twice was named best comedy team in North America by U.S. television critics and editors. (Wayne died of cancer in 1990.)

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