Born Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen in New York City, "Steve" was an American television personality, musician, actor, comedian, and writer. Though he got his start in radio, Allen is best-known for his television career.
He first gained national attention as a guest host on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. He graduated to become the first host of The Tonight Show, where he was instrumental in innovating the concept of the television talk show. Thereafter, he hosted numerous game and variety shows, including The Steve Allen Show, I've Got a Secret, The New Steve Allen Show, and was a regular panel member on CBS' What's My Line?
Allen played piano and was a prolific composer, having penned over 14,000 songs. In one famous stunt, he made a bet with singer-songwriter Frankie Laine that he could write 50 songs a day for a week. Composing on public display in the window of a Hollywood music store, Allen met the quota, winning $1,000 from Laine. One of the songs, "Let's Go to Church Next Sunday," was recorded by both Perry Como and Margaret Whiting. Allen's best-known songs are "This Could Be the Start of Something Big" and "The Gravy Waltz," the latter having won a Grammy award in 1963 for Best Jazz Composition.
He also wrote lyrics for the standards "Picnic" and "South Rampart Street Parade." Allen composed the score to the Paul Mantee imitation James Bond film A Man Called Dagger (1967),
Allen won a Grammy award in 1963 for best jazz composition, with his song The Gravy Waltz. Allen wrote more than 50 books and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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-- Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme sing, "This Could Be The Start Of Something Big"
He was 78 when he died after suffering a heart attack following a car accident.