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Earl Wilson (columnist)

Earl Wilson
Earl Wilson and Fred Allen
Wilson and comedian Fred Allen (1949)
Born Harvey Earl Wilson
(1907-05-03)May 3, 1907
Rockford, Mercer County
Ohio, USA
Died January 16, 1987(1987-01-16) (aged 79)
Yonkers, New York
Occupation Journalist and author

Harvey 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 nationally syndicated newspaper column, It Happened Last Night.

Born in Rockford in Mercer County in western Ohio, Wilson attended Heidelberg College and graduated from Ohio State University in 1931 with a B. S. in journalism.

Wilson's column originated from the New York Post and ran from 1942 until 1983. 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 controversial 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.[3]

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.[4]

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 Paul Lynde. Wilson also hosted the DuMont TV show Stage Entrance from May 1951 to March 1952.

Wilson died in Yonkers, New York. His son, Earl Wilson, Jr., became a songwriter for the musical theatre.


  1. ^ ISBN 978-0-399-11276-8
  2. ^ ISBN 978-0-451-07487-4
  3. ^ "Who Said That?"Show Overview: . Retrieved June 12, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Faye Emerson's Wonderful Town". Classic Television Archives. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  • Riley, Sam G. Biographical Dictionary of American Newspaper Columnists. Westport, CT, Greenwood Press, 1995.
  • "Jack Kennedy's Other Women." Time, Dec. 29, 1975

External links

  • Earl Wilson at the Internet Movie Database
  • Actors Cabaret of Eugene News - about Earl Wilson, Jr., with some information on Earl Wilson
  • Creative Quotations from Earl Wilson
  • Obituary in The New York Times, January 17, 1987.
  • Obituary in The New York Times of his wife, Rosemary (published February 26, 1986); the "B.W." (Beautiful Wife) he referred to in his columns
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