Lorne Greene

Last month we talked about Red Smith, which led me to Red Green, which led me to Lorne Greene. Which is a green of a different spelling.

Last week, Mark B. talked about Gump Worsley who’s real first name is Lorne, and Kerbey commented on Lorne Michaels, clearly the stars and the colors were aligning.

Which leads us back to Canadian born Lorne Greene. He didn’t start out as Lorne, no way. He entered this world as Lyon Himan “Chiam” Green. A name not listed in Dave’s famous stage names post last week.

With such a commanding name, why change it?

Lorne Greene, 1968 (From Wikipedia)

Lorne Greene, 1968 (From Wikipedia)

He started out in radio and became Canada’s top newscaster—The Voice of Canada—during World War II. He was nicknamed “The Voice of Doom” because of his deep voice and the awful news he reported. The good news is, he invented a stopwatch that ran backwards. How else do you let your fellow broadcaster know how much segment time was left while speaking on air?

So off to Hollywood in the 1950s, and presto a name change, we have Lorne Greene. Because everything is better if you spell it with an “e” at the end-e.

Which brings us to his wonderfully named wives. His first wife fabulously named, Rita Hands. Unfortunately, they divorced in 1960. His second wife, Nancy Deale—everything is better if you end it with an “e”, including marriage (or it would be pronounced mary-ag, ugh)—until his death in 1987.

Among his many colorful accomplishments he co-hosted the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Betty White for nearly a decade from 1963 to 1972. He is probably more famous for his roles on Bonanza as Ben Cartwright and on Battle Star Galactica as Commander Adama.

And he enjoyed a country western/folk singing career off-camera. His only number one hit, Ringo, in 1964. In case you are confused it’s a song about Johnny Ringo, not Ringo Star. Both well named gentlemen.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

About Fannie Cranium

Writing since she could first hold a pen, Tracy Perkins formed her alter ego, "Fannie Cranium" at the suggestion of her husband. Tracy understands smiling makes people wonder what she’s been up to.
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24 Responses to Lorne Greene

  1. kerbey says:

    This cracks me up because in middle school, my best friend had a crush on history teacher, Coach John Ringo. And my mom would reference this song, which I had never heard. Can we really call this “singing,” though? It reminds me of Shatner singing/talking “Rocket Man.” I am guessing Rita Hands wasn’t “all hands” or they never would have divorced. After reading last week’s blog, I recall where I most remember Lorne, more than a TV show–as the Alpo Dog Food pitchman!

    • Dave says:

      Thank you… I now know that finding a copy of Shatner singing Rocket Man is my goal for today.

      Alright, found it. Daily goal complete… today is a success! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lul-Y8vSr0I

      Wow, and what an incredible, and incredibly Shatner performance. Arto and I used to rock out to his songs “That’s Me Trying” and “Common People” back in our youthful undergrad days about a decade ago… Shatner sounded a lot younger covering Rocket Man, that’s for sure.

    • Now that’s funny, what are the odds you would have a John Ringo connection!

      Talking about singing, while it was his only #1 single, he did actually sing on his other recordings.

      I forgot about the Alpo commercials. Now that’s a walk down memory lane.

  2. Dave says:

    Wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wowowowowowowowowowowo!!!!

    So many amazing amazing names here! Rita Hands might be my favorite of all.

    That song is superb. Perhaps I can use that as my theme music one of these days. If only my name were Ringo. And if only I had a need for theme music…

  3. Reblogged this on Fannie Cranium's and commented:

    Lorne Greene, this week’s contribution to the Blog of Funny Names.

  4. Arto says:

    What a great poste! I’m forced to leave a commente with an e at the ende, because it makes it better….e.

    Lorne had quite a life. Married to Hands, voice of Canada, named Lyon, Bonanza, dog food, number one hit, Hollywood, parades…dude got around!

  5. ksbeth says:

    my grandfather used to watch lyon/lorne/ben cartwright every sunday night and loved him!

  6. wdydfae says:

    ” . . . a Bonanza of a post . . .”

    “. . . Artoe beate me toe ite! Whate ae greate poste! . . .”

    “. . . Color me amazed . . . at Fannie’s latest! . . .”

  7. Bumba says:

    What about Redd Foxx??)

  8. Bumba says:

    You forgot to mention that his first wife, Rita Hands, was a talented gardener having acquired by way of marriage a green thumb. (Sorry).

  9. wdydfae says:

    Confrontation between Johnny Ringo and Doc Holliday from Tombstone is a classic:

  10. Pingback: Redd Foxx | The Blog of Funny Names

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