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Sign in. A career of seven decades of snappy, irreverent one-liners put Henry "Henny" Youngman at the top of most comedians' list of favorite showmen. Born in London, England, and moving to the United States when he was a baby, Youngman started his professional career as a printer in a small store. Naturally funny, he moonlighted in show business as the leader of a band called the "Swanee Syncopaters.
Youngman, whose shtick of deadpan one-liners and rapid-fire jokes had remained unchanged for more than 60 years, was entertaining audiences until shortly before his death. Born Henry Youngman, he was reared in Brooklyn and began his career as a violinist with a band in a New Jersey nightclub called the Nut Club. He was scheduled for six minutes, but the producers thought he was so funny that they let him run on for more than 10 minutes.
Henny Youngman, the King of the One-Liners, who implored his audiences for more than six decades to ''take my wife -- please,'' died yesterday at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan. He was 91 years old and lived on West 55th Street in Manhattan. Youngman had been hospitalized since Jan. Michael Camerman, Mr. Youngman's assistant, said that he had come down with a cold while on a two-show-a-night trip to San Francisco the week after Christmas.