Talkshow Host Skip E. Lowe Dies at 85

Skip E. Lowe, who hosted a public access cable show about Hollywood and inspired Martin Short’s character Jiminy Glick, died Monday in Hollywood. He was 85 and had been suffering from emphysema and other respiratory ailments.

“Skip E. Lowe Looks at Hollywood” was based in L.A. starting in 1978, and managed to attract numerous well-known names despite its low-budget production.

Over the show’s 35-year run, he conducted more than 6,000 interviews with guests that included Bette Davis, Orson Welles, Shelley Winters, Janet Leigh, Tony Curtis, Mickey Rooney and Lynn Redgrave, as well as numerous actors and singers who visited his show to promote their appearances.

His latest book “Hollywood Gomorrah” had an introduction by his friend Jacqueline Stallone.

Lowe was the subject of profiles in the Los Angeles Times and New York Times Magazine, where he was written about by comedian Harry Shearer, a fan of his show.

In the Los Angeles Times article, Dom DeLuise said, “doing his show is like no other. I always felt like I was being interviewed by a pixie, some magical person.”

Born Sammy Labella in Greenville, Miss., he appeared in small roles in films including “Best Foot Forward” and “Song of the Open Road” and toured as a child vaudeville entertainer.

He then toured with USO shows featuring Bob Hope and Martha Raye, and later traveled with Raye to Vietnam to entertain troops.

Returning to Hollywood from the road, he had roles in films including “Black Shampoo” and “The World’s Greatest Lover” with Gene Wilder.

Lowe found his niche interviewing stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age and his public access show was also seen in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

Martin Short once said on “Late Night with David Letterman” that his Jiminy Glick character was “a little bit of Skip E. Lowe,” explaining that “he talks to people, but he gets confused with tremendous enthusiasm.”

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