Ruta Lee, The Emperor, and The Marx Brothers on TV: Next on TVC

Singer/actress Ruta Lee and actor Roman Mitichyan will join us this weekend on TV CONFIDENTIAL, airing Friday at 7pm ET and PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org.

This week’s program will include Part 2 of our conversation with Ruta Lee, the legendary singer, actress, and philanthropist who has left her mark on stage, TV, and the movies for more than six decades, including such films as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Witness for the Prosecution, and Sergeants Three, and a host of television credits, including The Twilight Zone, The Fugitive, The Lucy Show, The Andy Griffith Show, five episodes of Perry Mason, and the popular NBC game show High Rollers, which Ruta co-hosted with Alex Trebek—making her the first female co-host of a network TV game show. Ruta also embodies Hollywood off camera, having dedicated much of her life as chairman or president of The Thalians, the charitable organization that she co-founded with her dear friend Debbie Reynolds that is committed to good mental health, from pediatric to geriatric.

Ruta is also currently working on her memoirs, Consider Your Ass Kissed—which, if all goes well, will be released in 2020. We will ask her about that, and more, when Ruta Lee joins us in our second hour.

Also this week: We will welcome actor and stuntman Roman Mitichyan. If you follow UFC and mixed martial arts, you know Roman as “The Emperor,” his handle when he performed on the MMA circuit, where he racked up a won-loss record of 15-3 before an injury ended his career. But that opened the door to a new career as an actor, stuntman, and (soon) director. Roman has more than 100 film and TV credits over the past decade, including 10 Minutes Gone with Bruce Willis and Michael Chiklis (now available on streaming on demand), the upcoming movie Trauma Center (also with Willis), two of the three John Wick movies (with Keanu Reeves), Vice and The Promise (both with Christian Bale), the web series Kidding (with Jim Carrey), plus episodes of Homeland, Dexter, Numb3rs, The Shield, Without a Trace, 24, CSI: Miami, Sons of Anarchy, The Division, Criminal Minds, Chuck, Vegas, CSI: NY, Revolution, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Scandal, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Scorpion, Castle, Person of Interest, Fear the Walking Dead, The Blacklist: Redemption, NCIS, Seal Team, Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-0, NCIS: Los Angeles, 9-1-1, and Medical Police.

Roman Mitichyan will soon be seen opposite Jennifer Aniston in The Morning Show, the highly anticipated new series from Apple TV that premieres on Friday, Nov. 1. Roman Mitichyan will join us in our first hour.

This week’s show will also include Part 2 of our conversation with comedy historian Jeff Abraham. Jeff’s book, The Show Won’t Go On: The Most Shocking, Bizarre, and Historic Deaths of Performers Onstage (which he co-authored with Burt Kearns), is the first book to explore the phenomenon of performers who died onstage in the middle of their act. Despite its morbid-sounding premise, The Show Won’t Go On is an absorbing read that gives readers a sense of who each performer was as a person, so that, by the time you learn the details of their inevitable demise, you can’t help but feel a sense of genuine loss.

With Halloween upon us this week, among the performers we’ll discuss will be Joe Burrus, the magician who made an ill-fated attempt to out-do Houdini on Halloween Night 1990. We’ll also ask Jeff about an unusual request that Penn Jillette made when he was interviewed for The Show Won’t Go On. Jeff Abraham will join us in our second hour.

And speaking of comedy history, we will celebrate the legacy of The Marx Brothers this week with a replay of our October 2014 conversation with Bill Marx, son of Harpo Marx, and the executive producer of The Marx Brothers TV Collection.

Television was the last frontier conquered by the Marx Brothers, individually and, occasionally, collectively. While we all know about Groucho’s success as the host of You Bet Your Life, not to mention Harpo’s famous duet with Lucille Ball on I Love Lucy, the Brothers made a host of other television appearances throughout the 1950s and 1960s—many of which have not been seen in years, including Groucho’s appearances on The Jack Benny Show and The Dick Cavett Show; Harpo’s starring role in “A Silent Panic,” an episode of The DuPont Show considered by many to be his finest performance ever; “The Hold Out,” the episode of GE Theater (featuring a young Dennis Hopper) that marked Groucho’s only dramatic appearance on television; “The Musicale,” the episode of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington that turned out to be Harpo’s final TV appearance; and Chico’s short-lived series, The College Bowl, a weekly musical revue featuring a young Andy Williams. All of these items, and more, are part of The Marx Brothers TV Collection. Bill Marx will join us in our second hour.

TV CONFIDENTIAL: A radio talk show about television
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