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Ed Sullivan's Grandson Tells All

Ed Sullivan's Grandson Tells All
Ed Sullivan in a portrait from the 1960s (Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 12 August 2019 11:01 AM

Each week millions of Americans tuned in to Ed Sullivan's long-running variety show. By the late 1950s, the host was a household name but he remained humble and always had time for his fans — even when they were storming him at his grandson's sixth-grade play.

Robert Precht, who is the eldest of Sullivan's five grandchildren, recalls the day his grandfather proudly showed up to the school production in Scarsdale, New York, Fox News reported.

"Kids were racing down the stairs trying to get his autograph, and he was good-natured about it," Precht told Closer Weekly in a tell-all interview. "He always had time for his fans."

Through his weekly show, Sullivan introduced a number of music icons to the world. He had a way of sniffing out talent and according to his biography, went on to host the likes of the Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, and the Beatles.

He also went against the grain to promote African-American performers at a time when racial segregation was the norm.

"Through his body language and the way he introduced people, he conveyed a real affection for African-American culture," Precht said. "He created a kind of model integrated society."

Sullivan played a vital role in the civil rights movement, his granddaughter Margo Elizabeth Speciale added.

"By having African-American performers on the show and treating them with dignity and respect, he showed acts white audiences had never heard of before who are household names today and, most importantly, he treated those artists with dignity and respect — during a time when races was the norm, challenging America to do the same."

"The Ed Sullivan Show" kept America entertained from 1948 right up until 1971. During that time, Sullivan rose to critical acclaim, but he was always just "grandpa" to his grandchildren.

"He was a big deal to America, but to me, he was just grandpa. I remember being on the couch in our living room and him doing little magic tricks and pretending to take his thumb off," Speciale recalled.

Precht said that Sullivan put his family first, and remained happily married to his wife Sylvia died of cancer at 73. His family is now doing what they can to keep his legacy alive.

"When people think of him, they think of family togetherness — watching his show together," said Precht. "It’s a legacy of shared experience that’s a unique, vanished part of America."

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Each week millions of Americans tuned in to Ed Sullivan's long-running variety show. By the late 1950s, the host was a household name but he remained humble and always had time for his fans - even when they were storming him at his grandson's sixth-grade play.
ed sullivan, tell all, grandson, granddaughter
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2019-01-12
Monday, 12 August 2019 11:01 AM
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