PASSINGS: Mike Bongiorno, Jack Manning, William A. 'Bill' Schoneberger
Sep 10, 2009 | 12:00 AM
Italian quiz show host
Mike Bongiorno, 85, a TV host who popularized quiz shows for generations of Italians, died Tuesday of a heart attack at his home in Monte Carlo, Italian news media reported.
Nicknamed "The Quiz King," Bongiorno was one of Italy's most enduring and beloved TV personalities. His gaffes were legendary and his greeting to viewers -- "Allegria!" (Cheers!) -- a trademark.
Vatican Radio called him a "milestone" of Italian TV, and President Giorgio Napolitano said Bongiorno was a "household presence" for Italian families.
He appeared on RAI state TV on its first day of programming in the early 1950s and hosted a series of successful quiz shows -- many of them adaptations of U.S. shows -- for more than two decades.
He was among the first and, at that point, most prominent personalities to move to private TV, contributing to the success of the TV company owned by Silvio Berlusconi, the current Italian prime minister, in the early 1980s. He recently left Berlusconi's company and was working for Sky Italia.
Born in 1924 in New York, Bongiorno moved to his mother's hometown of Turin, Italy, as a young boy.
During World War II he took part in the Italian resistance and was briefly incarcerated. ANSA news agency said he was captured by the Gestapo and deported to a German concentration camp before being freed in a prisoner-of-war exchange.
Character actor on stage and TV
Jack Manning, 93, a character actor with a long and varied career who appeared in "Othello" on Broadway, in dozens of TV guest spots and in films including "The Owl and the Pussycat," died of natural causes Aug. 31 at his home in Rancho Palos Verdes, according to his wife, Francie.
Born in Cincinnati in 1916, Manning acted in college productions at the University of Cincinnati and on radio station WLW. He continued with radio roles after moving to New York in 1941.
That year he landed his first role on Broadway, in "Junior Miss." He played Roderigo in the 1943-44 production of "Othello" starring Paul Robeson and also starred in "The Tender Trap" in 1954-55 and "Do I Hear a Waltz?" in 1965, among other roles.
On television, starting in the '50s and continuing through the '80s, Manning had many guest roles in dramatic series and sitcoms, including "Mary Tyler Moore," "Here's Lucy," "Sanford and Son," "Ironside" and "The Paper Chase."
Besides "The Owl and the Pussycat" in 1970, Manning had small movie roles in "The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid" (1972) and "The Thief Who Came to Dinner" (1973), as well as bit parts in a string of 1970s Disney comedies.
Manning also taught acting in Southern California and New York.
William A. "Bill" Schoneberger, an author and aviation historian who wrote "California Wings," a 1980 account of the state's aviation pioneers, and served as president of the Aero Club of Southern California when the group owned the massive Spruce Goose wooden airplane, died Aug. 31 at his Santa Barbara home after a long illness. He was 83.