Birth Date: August 24, 1912
Birth Place: Covington, Kentucky, USA
Date of Death: March 15, 2000 / Age: 87
Location of Death: Fort Myers, Florida, USA
Cause of Death: congestive heart failure
Biography: Versatile US TV funnyman Durward Kirby, who for years played second banana on "The Garry Moore Show" and for a time was co-host of Candid Camera, started out in radio in the Midwest. The tall (6-foot-4), blond Kirby teamed up with Garry Moore off and on for 30 years, serving as announcer and performer on Moore's early, live "The Garry Moore Show" on CBS-TV in 1950-51 and the highly successful variety show of the same name that ran from 1958-64 and 1966-67.
The variety show was known for making a star of Carol Burnett and for its nostalgia segments, called "That Wonderful Year."
Kirby was co-host of "Candid Camera" from 1961-66. The show created by Allen Funt, which secretly filmed unsuspecting citizens in amusing situations, had at one point been a segment of "The Garry Moore Show." Kirby occasionally took part in the pranks.
Kirby could be sketch actor, singer, dancer and with ease switch from slapstick to suave sales pitches for a sponsor's product. He became so well-known to TV viewers that the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons had a plotline about the search for "Kirward Derby," which could make its wearer the smartest man in the world.
Critic John Crosby called him "one of the most versatile muggers and comedians on the air."
In a 1960s interview, Kirby said: "I've done just about everything in broadcasting - covered news, special events, disasters, sports, political conventions. I've had a news commentary show, done interviews, audience participation shows, sold products."
In television, he explained, "the audience must accept you as a human being before it can accept you as a star, a comedian, an announcer or whatever." Kirby wrote three books: "My Life, Those Wonderful Years," "Bits and Pieces of This and That" and a children's book called "Dooley Wilson."
Legendary broadcaster Arthur Godfrey once said that Kirby was only guy in show business with whom everyone could get along.
Born in Covington, Ky., Kirby was at Purdue University, studying to be an aeronautical engineer, when he walked past the campus radio station one day and was waylaid to pinch-hit as an announcer.
He worked in radio in Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Chicago and served in World War II before beginning his television career in New York shortly after the war.