1960 TARCHER PRODUCTIONS THREE SHARI LEWIS PUPPETS Shari Lewis From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Shari Lewis Lewis with her puppets, Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse, 1960. Born Sonia Phyllis Hurwitz
January 17, 1933
The Bronx, New York, United States Died August 2, 1998 (aged 65)
Los Angeles , California , United States Cause of death Viral pneumonia [1] Occupation Ventriloquist, puppeteer, author, children's television show host Years active 1952-1998 Spouse(s) Stan Lewis
Jeremy Tarcher Children Mallory Lewis

Sonia Phyllis Hurwitz (January 17, 1933 - August 2, 1998) better known as Shari Lewis was an American ventriloquist , puppeteer , and children's entertainer and television show host. She was best known as the original puppeteer of sock puppet Lamb Chop , first appearing on Hi Mom , a local morning show that aired on WRCA-TV (now WNBC-TV ) in New York City .

Contents [ hide ] 1 Early life 2 Career 3 Personal life 4 Death 5 Awards and honors 6 Television shows 6.1 Specials 6.2 Episodic TV appearances 7 Discography 8 References 9 External links

Early life [ edit ]

Lewis was born as Sonia Phyllis Hurwitz [2] to Ann Ritz and Abraham Hurwitz, an education professor at Yeshiva University . She had one sister. Her parents encouraged her to perform and her father, who had been named New York City's "official

Career [ edit ]

In 1952, Lewis and her puppetry won first prize on the CBS television series Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts . Lewis then hosted several New York children's series through the decade. On July 5, 1953 Lewis made her television hosting debut on Facts N'Fun on NBC - owned WRCA-TV. The program was a variety show where she engaged her viewers and studio audiences in games, songs, stories, craftmaking, informational segments, and interviews with guest performers and personalities. She also performed comedy skits with two vent figures, Samson and Taffy Twinkle. The series remained on the air until September 26, 1953.

She moved to WPIX in 1953 to replace Ted Steele as host of Kartoon Klub , which featured a variety format with a live studio audience. Lewis performed with Randy Rocket and Taffy Twinkle, and the program also featured reruns of Crusader Rabbit cartoons. Kartoon Klub later changed its title to Shari & Her Friends on September 23, 1956, and then to Shariland a month later. Lewis won New York-area Emmy Awards for her work on Shariland and a succeeding series on WRCA-TV, Hi Mom (1957-1959), which introduced Charlie Horse, Hush Puppy, and Wing Ding. Lamb Chop, who also appeared, had been previously introduced during Lewis' guest appearance on Captain Kangaroo in March 1956. [ citation needed ]

NBC gave Lewis her first network program, The Shari Lewis Show , which debuted on October 1, 1960, replacing The Howdy Doody Show . The show ran until September 28, 1963, and featured such characters as Hush Puppy, Charlie Horse, Lamb Chop, and Wing Ding, a black crow. Lamb Chop, who was little more than a sock with eyes, served as a sassy alter-ego for Lewis. Hush Puppy had a Southern accent and a reserved, shy personality, while Charlie Horse was a slow-witted goofy character. Guest TV and movie personalities and even occasional stars often appeared on her show, as they did later on Jim Henson 's Muppets series.

Capturing kids' imaginations in the early 1960s, consumer versions of Lewis's initial three puppets sold briskly. Subsequent television programs re-introduced these characters (minus the black crow, whose characterization became more problematic after the 1960s) to a new generation of children.

In 1961, she played title character Dulie Hudson in Watching Out for Dulie , a United States Steel Hour production. She occasionally guest-starred in TV shows such as Car 54, Where Are You? , The Man from U.N.C.L.E. , and Love, American Style . [5]

From the late 1960s until the early 1980s she appeared on a number of British shows such as the Val Doonican Show and the Royal Variety Performance . [5]

In 1992, her new Emmy -winning show Lamb Chop's Play-Along began a five-year run on PBS . Lewis starred in another hit PBS series, The Charlie Horse Music Pizza , which was one of her last projects before her death. The video Lamb Chop's Special Chanukah was released in 1996 and received the Parents' Choice award of the year. She and Lamb Chop both appeared in the defunct PrimeStar satellite commercial in 1997.

When Lewis appeared before Congress in 1993 to testify in favor of protections for children's television, Lamb Chop was granted permission to speak.

An accomplished musician, she conducted major symphonies in the United States, Japan, and Canada. She wrote many books and 17 home videos. [6]

In addition to her other work, Lewis provided the voice of the Princess, in a cartoon segment " Arabian Knights " (1967) of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour . With her husband, Jeremy Tarcher, she co-wrote an episode for the original series of Star Trek , " The Lights of Zetar " (1969). Lewis wrote over 60 books for children.

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