Jackie Mason Dies at Age 93

by Keeli Parkey

Jackie Mason, a comedian who inspired the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, has died. According to TMZ, Mason was 93 years old at the time of his death. He passed away at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City on Saturday, July 24.

Mason had been in the hospital for almost one month. He went in due to suffering inflammation of his lungs. In the years before his death, he had suffered several health problems. Raoul Felder, a friend of Mason’s, shared details about the respected comedian’s final days with the media.

The future comedy legend was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in 1928, according to The Daily Mail. His given name at birth was Yacov Moshe Maza. His parents were immigrants to the United States from Belarus. The family moved from Wisconsin to New York City – specifically Manhattan’s Lower East Side – during the 1930s. This was an area that was filled with Jewish immigrants. His Jewish identity was key to Jackie Mason’s comedy.

In fact, Mason was ordained as a Jewish rabbi years before he became a comedian. His father and many of his male relatives were also rabbis. However, serving as a rabbi was not for him.

Jackie Mason was very popular in the Catskills in his career. He entertained people with his unique style of comedy for an impressive 60 years. He rose to fame in 1960 thanks to his hilarious performance on “The Steve Allen Show.” This led to appearances for him on the famous “The Ed Sullivan Show” and in clubs.

His career hit a major roadblock in 1964 due to his behavior on an episode of “The Ed Sullivan Show.” What he did on that episode made club owners and television shows view him as “crude and unpredictable.”

“People started to think I was some kind of sick maniac,” Jackie Mason told Look. “It took 20 years to overcome what happened in that one minute.”

Things got worse for him in 1966 when he made fun of the marriage of Frank Sinatra to Mia Farrow. His joke was: “Frank soaks his dentures and Mia brushes her braces.” 

Jackie Mason Had Success on Broadway During 1980s

Luckily for Jackie Mason, his career got back on track around the 1980s. In 1979, he had a role in the Steve Martin film, “The Jerk.”

Also, Mason’s Broadway show, “The World According to Me!” helped him return to the spotlight in 1986. The show ran for two years and earned him a Tony Award for his work. He also won an Emmy Award for the HBO production of this one-man show.

Broadway was a home for Mason after this. He had several other one-man shows on Broadway. The last of these took place in 2008. It was titled, “The Ultimate Jew.”

Mason was also known for playing Krusty the Clown’s father, Rabbi Krustofsky, on “The Simpsons” for many years. He won an Emmy in 1992 for his work.

Tributes for Jackie Mason have poured in since news of his passing came to light. One of those tributes came from a “Happy Days” icon. That person is none other than “The Fonz” himself – Henry Winkler. Winkler took to Twitter to share his thoughts about the famous comedian.