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On this Day in Movie History, March 9, 1996: George Burns Dies

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Born Nathan Birnbaum January 20, 1896 in New York City, New York, George Burns was an actor and producer, known for The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (1950), Oh, God! (1977) and The Sunshine Boys (1975). He was married to Gracie Allen and Hannah Siegal. He died on March 9, 1996 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California.

Burns had an enduring personality and was one of the few entertainers whose career successfully spanned vaudeville, film, radio, and television. His arched eyebrow and cigar smoke became familiar trademarks for over three-quarters of a century.

George Burns was reported to have taken the name George from his brother Izzy (who hated his own name so he changed it to "George"), and the Burns from the Burns Brothers Coal Company (he used to steal coal from their truck).

Normally partnering with a girl, sometimes in an adagio dance routine, sometimes comic patter., although he had an apparent flair for comedy, he never quite clicked with any of his partners. That was until he met a young Irish Catholic lady in 1923. "And all of a sudden," he said famously in later years, "the audience realized I had a talent. They were right. I did have a talent—and I was married to her for 38 years."

On March 9, 1996, 49 days after his 100th birthday, Burns died in his Beverly Hills home of cardiac arrest. His funeral was held three days later at the Wee Kirk o' the Heather church in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Glendale.

As much as he looked forward to reaching the age of 100, Burns also stated, about a year before he died, that he also looked forward to death, saying that on the day he would die, he would be with Gracie again in heaven. Upon being interred with Gracie, the crypt's marker was changed to, "Gracie Allen & George Burns—Together Again." George had said that he wanted Gracie to have top billing.

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