Interviews

 

Bill Dana

Comedian/ Writer

Bill Dana on his feelings today toward the character that made him famous: "Jose Jimenez"

Bill Dana was Jose Jimenez. The line between was invisible.. I love that character, because he was just so sweet -- there was a Pollyanna aspect to him. That everything's going to be all right. It never was a caricature.  He's not a Latin character. He's a universal character.

About this interview

In his nearly three-hour Archive interview, Bill Dana talks about growing up during the Depression, his interest in comedy, and his stint as an NBC page. He discusses teaming up for a comedy act with Gene Wood, before joining The Steve Allen Show, where he became head writer. He details some of the show's recurring sketches, including "The Question Man" "Man on the Street" and the "Nutley-Hinkley Report." He then chronicles the creation of his famous character, "Jose Jimenez" which began on Allen's show. He describes Jimenez's character's traits, his many appearances, his retirement, the response of the Latino community regarding the character, and the culmination of Jimenez's fame on The Bill Dana Show. He discusses his work as a producer on The Milton Berle Show; his roles on St. Elsewhere and The Golden Girls; and his writing of the famous All in the Family episode, "Sammy's Visit" featuring Sammy Davis Jr. Lastly, he talks about his current work with Emerson College and his creation of the American Comedy Archives. Jeff Abraham conducted the interview in Los Angeles, CA on February 10, 2007.

Bill Dana was Jose Jimenez. The line between was invisible.. I love that character, because he was just so sweet -- there was a Pollyanna aspect to him. That everything's going to be all right. It never was a caricature.  He's not a Latin character. He's a universal character.

Interview Highlights

Embedded thumbnail for Bill Dana on his feelings today toward the character that made him famous: "Jose Jimenez"

Bill Dana on his feelings today toward the character that made him famous: "Jose Jimenez"

Embedded thumbnail for Bill Dana on writing for the voice of Don Adams; the birth of "would you believe" jokes

Bill Dana on writing for the voice of Don Adams; the birth of "would you believe" jokes

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Bill Dana on the birth of his character "Jose Jiminez" on The Steve Allen Show in 1959

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Bill Dana on writing the episode "Sammy's Visit" for All in the Family ; starring Sammy Davis, Jr.

Embedded thumbnail for Bill Dana on his advice to aspiring writers and comedians

Bill Dana on his advice to aspiring writers and comedians

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Bill Dana on breaking in new comedic material, live, on The Garry Moore Show as part of the comedy team "Dana and Wood". 

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Bill Dana on his recurring role as "Uncle Angelo" on The Golden Girls; the biggest laugh he ever got was on that show

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