Bill Dana, the comedy legend who became one of the biggest comedy stars of the '60s with his Jose Jimenez character, has died, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Dana died Thursday at his home in Nashville. He was 92.
Dana began his career as a comedian and writer for other comics. He came to prominence as a writer and performer on The Steve Allen Show, where he created the character Jose Jimenez, a bumbling Bolivian bellhop, which became a cultural phenomenon in the early '60s. He even did the character at John F. Kennedy's inaugural gala in 1961. The character got his own show, The Bill Dana Show, which ran from 1963-1965. Dana, who was not Latino, stopped doing the character in 1970 as cultural attitudes changed.
He wrote the famous "Sammy's Visit" episode of All in the Family, which featured Sammy Davis Jr. kissing the show's bigoted man character Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) on the cheek. TV Guide ranked the episode the 13th-greatest TV episode of all time in 1997.
He also founded the American Comedy Archives at his alma mater Emerson College, which collects interviews with comedy legends.
Dana was born William Szathmary on Oct. 5, 1924, in Quincy, Mass. He was the youngest of six children. One of his older brothers, Irving, composed the theme song for the series Get Smart, a show Dana also worked on. Dana took his stage name from his mother Dena's first name.
In addition to his comedy career, he served during World War II in the European theater as a mortar operator and machine gunner.
He is survived by his wife Evy.