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Jack Benny of 'Jack Benny Show' Fame Was Married for 47 Years to Mary Livingstone until He Died of Pancreatic Cancer at 80

Joe Akins
Oct 29, 2019
07:00 P.M.
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Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone lived a love story that is worthy of gracing the TV, and it only ended when there was no more breath to give it life.

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For 47 years, comedian, radio and TV personality, Jack Benny was married to the love of his life, Mary Livingstone.

The two met for the first time when the latter was 12, but at the time, the former was dating her older sister.

Jack Benny on the set circa 1965 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

Jack Benny on the set circa 1965 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

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They reunited at Los Angeles years later when Livingstone was older, but after going on regular dates for two weeks, they parted ways, only to get reunited two years later, in 1927.

The reunion led to a walk down the aisle, which got followed immediately with the adoption of a daughter, Joan, and an opportunity to work together.

In 1932, when NBC gave Benny a spot on their network, Livingstone became a regular cast member of the "Jack Benny Show," and remained with the show until she left the show business in 1960.

Comedian Jack Benny and wife Mary Livingston at an event in Los Angeles | Photo: Getty Images

Comedian Jack Benny and wife Mary Livingston at an event in Los Angeles | Photo: Getty Images

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"I learned Jack actually had a provision for the flower in his will; one red rose to be delivered to me every day for the rest of my life"

Leaving the show did not affect the King George High School graduate's marriage to the comedian, and they stayed blissfully married until he died from pancreatic cancer in '74.

Livingstone wrote remembrances for the TV personality every year after he died. But the depth of the love they shared was revealed in the biography, "One Long-Stemmed Rose," which she co-wrote with Hilliard Marks and Marcia Bonnie.

 Jack Benny and wife Mary Livingston at an event in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

Jack Benny and wife Mary Livingston at an event in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

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In it, the Seattle-born radio personality wrote,

"Every day since Jack has gone, the florist has delivered one long-stemmed rose to my home."

She added,

"I learned Jack actually had a provision for the flower in his will; one red rose to be delivered to me every day for the rest of my life."

"

If laughter is the music of the soul, Jack and his violin, and his good sense of humor, have made life better for all men"
Phil Harris, his wife, Alice Faye with actor Jack Benny and his wife, Mary Livingstone, on board the liner 'Queen Mary' on 12th June 1950 | Photo: Getty Images

Phil Harris, his wife, Alice Faye with actor Jack Benny and his wife, Mary Livingstone, on board the liner 'Queen Mary' on 12th June 1950 | Photo: Getty Images

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The gesture inspired the '98 poem, "Roses for Rose," by James A. Kisner. An excerpt from the poem, which reads,

"The roses will come every year, and will only stop when your door's not answered when the florist stops to knock."

Those words were Livingstone's reality, and the flowers stopped when she passed away in '83 at the age of 77, after a brief illness.

Jack Benny (1894 - 1974) and his wife, actress Mary Livingstone (1908 - 1983) at London Airport  on 12th June 1973 | Photo: Getty Images

Jack Benny (1894 - 1974) and his wife, actress Mary Livingstone (1908 - 1983) at London Airport on 12th June 1973 | Photo: Getty Images

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The radio personality and Benny entertained the world with their wisecracking characters, and at the latter's death, President Jack wrote in a telegram,

"If laughter is the music of the soul, Jack and his violin, and his good sense of humor, have made life better for all men."

The couple got buried next to each other at Hillside Memorial Cemetery, Culver City, California, Their only child, Joan survived them, and at Livingstone's death, five grandchildren also survived her.

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