November 11, 2003 by

Irv Kupcinet

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Categories: Writers/Editors

ikupcinet.jpgIrv “Kup” Kupcinet, a gossip columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and a television personality, died on Nov. 10 from pneumonia. He was 91.
Kupcinet earned a football scholarship to Northwestern University, but a fistfight with the coach’s brother led to a transfer to the University of North Dakota. Upon graduation in 1935, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. His rookie season was cut short, however, when he injured his shoulder, so he returned to Chicago and landed a job as a sports writer for the Chicago Daily Times.
In 1943, “Kup’s Column” debuted, giving readers the inside scoop on Hollywood celebrities. The 1,000-word gossip column remained at the newspaper even after its 1948 merger with the Chicago Sun. Syndicated in 100 newspapers, the column celebrated its 60th anniversary in May.
During his career, Kupcinet covered the Academy Awards from 1945 to 1986. He traveled to London for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and lunched with everyone from Humphrey Bogart to Harry Truman.
Kupcinet became a pioneer in the late-night talk-show genre when he replaced Jack Paar on NBC’s “America After the Dark,” which eventually became “The Tonight Show.” His own show, which was called both “At Random” and “Kup’s Show,” aired every Saturday night for 27 years and earned him 15 local Emmys and a Peabody Award.
For almost a quarter of a century, Kupcinet provided commentary for Chicago Bears football games. He was elected to Chicago’s Journalism Hall of Fame and published his autobiography, “Kup, a Man, an Era, a City,” in 1988.
Complete Coverage of Irv Kupcinet
Kup’s Columns
[Update – May 29, 2007: Kup’s Purple Heart Cruse for wounded vets will sail again this summer. The annual Lake Michigan cruise that Kup operated from 1945 to 1995 is being revived by his grandson, David Kupcinet.]

2 Responses to Irv Kupcinet

  1. Kathleen Collins

    Irv Kupcinet was a man who made friends from many diverse walks of life. He was a man to be envied, as he seemed to have everything. When his daughter died in 1963, 1500 people, including dignataries, attended her funeral in Chicago. That says something. Of course by the time of his death at 91, most of his friends had already died.
    Kathleen Collins

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