Innovative TV comedian, writer, and actor whose shows Three to Get Ready and Kovacs on the Corner were known for their experimental style. He was posthumously inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 1987, years after his death.
With the help of his teacher Harold Van Kirk, he earned an acting scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1937. His first paid entertainment work came in 1941 as a disc jockey on Trenton's WTTM radio.
His experimental and improvisational style has influenced late night TV show hosts like Craig Ferguson.
He married Bette Lee Wilcox on August 13, 1945 and divorced her in 1952. When he was awarded full custody of their two children she kidnapped them and took them to Florida. After regaining custody of his children, he married his second wife, Edie Adams, on September 12, 1954.
David Letterman cited Ernie Kovacs as the comedian who inspired him.