- Category : Ventriloquist
- Type : PE
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Contagion 1
American ventriloquist who studied a 25-cent books on ventriloquism while in high school, and then paid a carpenter $35 to carve the head of his first dummy, Charlie McCarthy. He went on to vaudeville, radio, nightclubs, film and TV with his beloved characters, rated Number One in every radio popularity poll of his day. Within one year of his radio debut, he was making $6,000 a week from radio, $75,000 a year from movies, and $100,000 a year from dolls and paraphernalia. Much of his money went into Hollywood real estate.
Born to Swedish immigrant parents, he began to show off his dummy by entertaining at Saturday matinees at the theater where he worked as an after-school usher. After college, he found work easily with his unique act, not only in the U.S. but in the UK and Sweden, playing in his native language. Vaudeville was no longer current, so he adapted his act to nightclubs in the U.S. By 1937, he was a permanent radio star.
In 1939, Bergen added another dummy to his act, Mortimer Snerd, and later added Effie, a sort of hip old maid.
He lived a quiet private life with his mom until her death in1945. That year he married Frances Westerman, a former model. Their daughter Candice was born in 1946 and son Kris Edgar in 1961.
Bergen died of a heart attack on 9/30/1978, Las Vegas, NV.