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Irv Kupcinet

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Title: Irv Kupcinet  
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Subject: Wabash Avenue Bridge, 2003, Stumpy Thomason, University of North Dakota football players, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 1991
Collection: 1912 Births, 2003 Deaths, American Columnists, American Football Quarterbacks, American Memoirists, American People of Russian Descent, American People of Russian-Jewish Descent, American Television Personalities, Chicago Bears Broadcasters, Emmy Award Winners, National Football League Announcers, Northwestern Wildcats Football Players, Peabody Award Winners, Philadelphia Eagles Players, Players of American Football from Illinois, University of North Dakota Football Players, Writers from Chicago, Illinois
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Irv Kupcinet

Irv Kupcinet
Irv Kupcinet at the 62nd annual Academy Awards ceremony
Born Irving Kupcinet
(1912-07-31)July 31, 1912
North Lawndale, Chicago, Illinois
Died November 10, 2003(2003-11-10) (aged 91)
Chicago, Illinois
Spouse(s) Esther Kupcinet (née Solomon) (1939–2001)
Irv Kupcinet
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1912-07-31)July 31, 1912
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
College: North Dakota
Career history
Career NFL statistics as of 1935
Passing yards: 6
Passer rating: 39.6
Games started: 1
Stats at
Stats at

Irv Kupcinet (July 31, 1912 – November 10, 2003) was an American newspaper columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, television talk-show host, and a radio broadcast personality based in Chicago, Illinois. He was popularly known by the nickname "Kup".

His daily Kup's Column was launched in 1943 and remained a fixture in the Sun-Times for the next six decades.[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Film cameos 2.1
  • Awards and honors 3
  • Published works 4
  • Personal life 5
  • Death 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Kupcinet was youngest of four children born to Russian Jewish immigrants in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. While attending high school, he became editor of the school newspaper and the senior class president. He eventually won a football scholarship to Northwestern University, but a scuffle with another student led to his transferring to the University of North Dakota.


Upon graduating college, Kupcinet was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles football team in 1935.[2] His football career was cut short due to a shoulder injury, which led him to take a job as a sports writer for the Chicago Daily Times (now known as the Chicago Sun-Times) in 1935.[3]

While writing his sports column, Kupcinet also wrote a short "People" section which became officially known as "Kup's Column" in 1948, after The Chicago Sun and the Daily Times merged to form the Chicago Sun-Times.[4] "Kup's Column" chronicled the nightlife of Chicago, along with celebrity and political gossip. The column would eventually be distributed to more than 100 newspapers around the world.[5]

In 1952, Kupcinet became a pioneer in the television talk show genre when he landed his own talk show. In 1957, he was one of the set of hosts who replaced Steve Allen on The Tonight Show, before Jack Paar was brought in to change the program's format.[5] Kupcinet's own series ran from 1959 until 1986 and was, at one point, syndicated to over 70 stations throughout the United States.[3] The series garnered 15 Emmy Awards along with a Peabody Award.[2]

In addition to writing his newspaper column and talk-show hosting duties, Kupcinet provided commentary for radio broadcasts of Chicago Bears football games with Jack Brickhouse (and was affectionately mocked for the signature phrase, "Dat's right, Jack").

Film cameos

Kupcinet made cameo appearances in two movies — 1959's Anatomy of a Murder and the 1962 drama Advise and Consent.[5]

Awards and honors

In 1982, Kupcinet was elected to Chicago's Journalism Hall of Fame.[2]

Published works

In 1988, Kupcinet published his autobiography, Kup: A Man, an Era, a City.

Personal life

Kupcinet met Esther "Essee" Solomon while she was a Northwestern student, and married her in 1939. The couple would have two children; a daughter, Karyn in 1941, and a son, Jerry in 1944.[4]

The Kupcinets' daughter, Karyn, moved to Hollywood in the early 1960s to pursue an acting career. On November 30, 1963, Karyn's nude body was found in her West Hollywood apartment. To date, her mysterious death, ruled to be a homicide by strangulation, as her hyoid bone had been broken,[4] has never been solved.[2] The Kupcinets established a theater named in her honor at Shimer College, then located in Mount Carroll, Illinois.[6]

The Kupcinets' son, Jerry Kupcinet, is an Emmy Award winning director of such shows as Judge Judy and 20/20.

His wife Essee died in 2001; they were married for 62 years.[2]


On November 10, 2003, Kupcinet died from respiratory complications from pneumonia at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in Chicago. He was 91 years old.[7]


  1. ^ Wilgoren, Jodi (2002-08-14). "For Chicago's 'Town Crier,' the Stories Linger". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Sher, Cindy (2006-11-07). "Remembering Irv Kupcinet". JUF News. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  3. ^ a b Steinberg, Niel (2003-11-11). Mr. Chicago' is dead at 91 Irv Kupcinet 1912-2003"'". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  4. ^ a b c Felsenthal, Carol (June 2004). "The Lost World of Kup".  
  5. ^ a b c Irv Kupcinet bio
  6. ^ "Essee and Irv Kupcinet awarded Jeff Awards".  
  7. ^ "Legendary Chicago columnist dead at 91". CNN. 2003-11-11. Archived from the original on January 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 

External links

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