Earl Wilson (1907 - 1987)

Earl Wilson
1907 - 1987
updated February 06, 2019
Earl Wilson was born on May 3, 1907 in Rockford, Ohio. He died on January 16, 1987 at Yonkers, New York at 79 years old. We know that Earl Wilson had been residing in United States.

Earl Wilson (May 3, 1907 – January 16, 1987)
Earl Wilson (May 3, 1907 – January 16, 1987), born Harvey Earl Wilson, was an American journalist, gossip columnist, and author, perhaps best known for his 6-day a week nationally syndicated newspaper column, It Happened Last Night.
Life and career
Wilson was born in Rockford, in Mercer County in western Ohio, to Arthur Wilson, a farmer, and Chloe Huffman Wilson. He attended Central High, where he reported on the doings of the school, using his father's typewriter to write his stories. Young Earl's mother encouraged him to pursue a career outside of farming. Wilson contributed to the Rockford Press and the Lima Republican Gazette, which would be the first to pay him for his writing. He also wrote for the Piqua, Ohio Daily Call before enrolling in college in 1925. Wilson attended Heidelberg College for two years before transferring to Ohio State University where he worked on the Lantern, the university’s student-run daily newspaper. He also held part-time jobs with the Columbus Dispatch and the capital city’s International News Service Bureau. Wilson graduated from Ohio State University in 1931 with a B. S. in journalism.
In 1935, Wilson began work for The Washington Post, meanwhile sending samples of his work to one of the editors at the New York Post. Later in 1935, Wilson arrived in New York to begin work with the Post, taking a room in a boarding house on Bleecker Street. There he met Rosemary Lyons from East St. Louis, IL, a secretary whom he wed in 1936. The couple struggled for several years until Wilson's work at the Post began to take off.
Their only child, Earl Wilson, Jr., was born on December 1, 1942. His column, which he took over from a writer who went off to war in 1942, was originally considered "filler." It eventually ran until 1983. As the column grew in popularity and importance, Wilson worked 18-hour days, typically arising in the late morning, telephoning news sources, and taking reports from several assistants. In the evenings he would set out for dinner at Toots Shor's or a similar theater district restaurant, accompanied by his wife, Rosemary, known to his readers as "B.W." (for Beautiful Wife). The pair made the rounds of night spots until the wee hours of the morning.
By the early 50’s, the Broadway gossip columns had become an important media outlet; columnists exercised a great deal of power in providing publicity for the celebrities of the day. But, whereas gossip columnists as a group were not held in high regard, Wilson had the reputation of being different: he was a trained journalist who double-checked facts, he was much influenced by his Mid-western upbringing and avoided innuendo and sensationalism, and he sought to cover his stories as real news items. With a reputation for being fair and honest, Wilson was trusted so much that celebrities willingly gave him their stories.
His chronicling of the Broadway theatre scene during the "Golden Age" of show business formed the basis for a book published in 1971, The Show Business Nobody Knows. He signed his columns with the tag line, "That's Earl, brother." His nickname was "Midnight Earl". In later years, the name of his column was changed to Last Night With Earl Wilson. In his final years with the Post, he alternated with the paper's entertainment writer and restaurant critic, Martin Burden, in turning out the column. (Burden, who died in 1993, took over the Last Night column full-time upon Wilson's retirement.)
Wilson is also the author of two books, Show Business Laid Bare,[1] and an unauthorized biography of Frank Sinatra, Sinatra – An Unauthorized Biography.[2] The former book is notable for revealing the extramarital affairs of President John F. Kennedy.
In the early 1950s, Wilson was an occasional panelist on the NBC game show, Who Said That?, in which celebrities tried to determine the speaker of quotations taken from recent news reports.
On January 19, 1952, Wilson guest starred on the CBS live variety show, Faye Emerson's Wonderful Town, in which hostess Faye Emerson visited Columbus to accent the kinds of music popular in the Ohio capital city.
Wilson appeared in a few films as himself, notably Copacabana (1947) with Groucho Marx and Carmen Miranda, A Face in the Crowd (1957) with Andy Griffith, College Confidential (1960), and Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) with Buster Keaton, Paul Lynde and Don Rickles. Wilson also hosted the DuMont TV show Stage Entrance from May 1951 to March 1952.
Death
Wilson died in a hospital in Yonkers, New York, in January 1987, after suffering from Parkinson's Disease for several years.
His was survived by his only child, Earl Wilson, Jr., a songwriter for the musical theatre. Wilson Sr.'s wife, Rosemary, predeceased him in February 1986.
Legacy
The Beatles dedicated their first set on the Ed Sullivan Show to Mr. Wilson.
Wilson was portrayed by Christian McKay in the 2016 film Florence Foster Jenkins.
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Earl Wilson Biography

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Earl Wilson
Most commonly known name
Male
Gender
Earl
First name
Unknown
Middle name
Wilson
Last name(s)
Harvey [as a child] Wilson
Nickname(s) or aliases
United States
Last known residence
Earl Wilson was born on in Rockford, Ohio
Birth
Earl Wilson died on at Yonkers, in New York
Death
Earl Wilson was born on in Rockford, Ohio
Earl Wilson died on at Yonkers, in New York
Birth
Death
Parkinson's Disease
Cause of death
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Burial / Funeral

Ethnicity & Lineage

White, Citizen

Nationality & Locations Lived

Unknown

Religion

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Education

Grammar School

Professions

Skilled Mechanics And Repairmen, N.e.c.

Personal Life & Organizations

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Military Service

Military serial#: 33798358
Enlisted: September 10, 1943 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Military branch: No Branch Assignment
Rank: Private, Selectees (enlisted Men)
Terms of enlistment: Enlistment For The Duration Of The War Or Other Emergency, Plus Six Months, Subject To The Discretion Of The President Or Otherwise According To Law

Average Age

Life Expectancy

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Earl Wilson Obituary

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Earl Wilson, who chronicled New York's night life for four decades in a chatty syndicated column that originated in The New York Post, died yesterday at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Yonkers. He was 79 years old and lived in Yonkers.
Mr. Wilson, who had suffered from Parkinson's disease for several years, was admitted to the medical center on Dec. 14 with pneumonia and subsequently suffered a stroke, according to Jodi Horton, a spokesman for the hospital. The former columnist died at 4:30 P.M., she said. She added that the hospital's policy was to not release the cause of death.
Billed as the newspaper's ''Saloon Editor,'' he prowled the city's cabarets, bars and other Broadway spots in search of tidbits for his column, which was titled ''It Happened Last Night'' for most of its run. His readers came to expect, and were usually rewarded by finding, the results of the columnist's copious research into the physical endowments of stage and film starlets.
But in the years between 1942, when he started his six-times-a-week column, and 1983, when he retired, he also captured the pulse of show business and was able to sustain a gossip column when many of his rivals found their audiences dwindling. In the late 1960's his column was carried by 175 newspapers across the country. Accompanied by 'B.W.'
Mr. Wilson worked an 18-hour day -much of it in the after-dark hours. Typically, he rose in late morning at his West End Avenue apartment, telephoned news sources and took reports from several assistants. About 8 P.M. his work pace intensified when he set out for dinner at Toots Shor's or a similar theater-district restaurant, invariably accompanied by his wife, Rosemary, known to his readers as ''B.W.'' (for Beautiful Wife). The couple then made the rounds of night spots until 2 A.M. or 3 A.M., when it was time to return home to the typewriter.
Harvey Earl Wilson was born into a farm family in Rockford, Ohio, and got a $15-a-week job as sports editor of The Piqua Daily Call by writing stories free while in high school. He later earned a journalism degree from Ohio State University and worked for newspapers in Columbus and Akron and for the International News Service before moving to The Washington Post.
In 1935, Mr. Wilson made it to New York with the help of Ruth McKenney, who had been a colleague of his on The Ohio State Lantern, and went on to work for The New York Post and later gained fame as the author of ''My Sister Eileen.''
Ms. McKenney found Mr. Wilson quarters in a rooming house off Washington Square and it was there that he met Rosemary Lyons, a secretary from East St. Louis, Ill.
Mr. Wilson was the author of several books, most of them drawn from his columns. For several years Mr. Wilson hosted talk shows on local radio stations and in 1957 was the host of a segment of the ''Tonight Show'' on NBC-TV.
Mrs. Wilson died last February. Surviving is a son, Earl Jr. of Manhattan.

Followers & Sources
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1907 - 1987 World Events

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In 1907, in the year that Earl Wilson was born, the state of Oklahoma was admitted to the United States on November 16. Previously called "Oklahoma Territory" and "Indian Territory", the two areas were merged and Oklahoma became the 46th state. It is the 28th most populous state.

In 1920, when he was merely 13 years old, Italian born factory worker Nicola Sacco and fish peddler Bartolomeo Vanzetti were picked up by police on May 5th in connection with the April 15th murder and robbery of a guard and a paymaster at the Slater and Morrill Shoe Company in South Braintree, Mass. Although in later years they were thought to be innocent, they were anarchists and were convicted of the crime and put to death.

In 1932, by the time he was 25 years old, on February 27th, actress Elizabeth Taylor was born in London. Her parents were Americans living in London and when she was 7, the family moved to Los Angeles. Her first small part in a movie was in There's One Born Every Minute in 1942 but her first starring role was in National Velvet in 1944. She became as famous for her 8 marriages (to 7 people) as she was for her beauty and films.

In 1948, Earl was 41 years old when on January 30th, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi by a member of a Hindu nationalist party who thought that Gandhi was too accommodating to Muslims. The man, Nathuram Godse, shot Gandhi 3 times. He died immediately. The shooter was tried, convicted, and hung in November 1949.

In 1987, in the year of Earl Wilson's passing, was the first time that a criminal in the United States - a serial rapist - was convicted through the use of DNA evidence.

Other Biographies

Other Earl Wilsons

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Other Bios

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