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Irv Kupcinet (July 31, 1912 – November 10, 2003) was an American newspaper columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and a broadcast personality based in Chicago, Illinoismarker. He was popularly known by the nickname "Kup".

His daily Kup's Column was launched in 1943 and remained a fixture in the Sun-Times for the next six decades.

Early life

Kupcinet was youngest of four children born to Russian immigrants in the North Lawndalemarker section of Chicagomarker. While attending high school, he became editor of the school newspaper and the senior class president. He eventually won a football scholarship to Northwestern Universitymarker, but a scuffle with another student led to his transferring to the University of North Dakota. Upon graduating college, Kupcinet was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1935.His football career was cut short due to a shoulder injury which led him to take a job as a sports writer for the Chicago Daily Times (now known as the Chicago Sun-Times) in 1935.


While writing his sports column, Kupcinet also wrote a short "People" section which became officially known as "Kup's Column" in 1948 after The Chicago Sun and the Daily Times merged to form the Chicago Sun-Times. "Kup's Column" chronicled the nightlife of Chicago along with celebrity and political gossip. The column would eventually be distributed to more than 100 newspapers around the world.

In 1952, Kupcinet became a pioneer in the television talk show genre when he landed his own talk show. In 1957, he replaced Jack Paar on what would eventually become The Tonight Show. Kupcinet's own series ran from 1959 until 1986 and was, at one point, syndicated to over 70 stations throughout the United Statesmarker. The series garnered 15 Emmy Awards along with a Peabody Award.

In addition to writing his newspaper column and talk show hosting duties, Kupcinet provided commentary for radio broadcasts of Chicago Bears football games with Jack Brickhouse. He made cameo appearances in two movies — 1959's Anatomy of a Murder and the 1962 drama Advise and Consent.

In 1982, Kupcinet was elected to Chicago's Journalism Hall of Fame.

In 1988, Kupcinet published his autobiography, Kup: A Man, an Era, a City.

Personal life

Kupcinet met Esther "Essee" Solomon while she was a Northwestern student, and married her in 1939. The couple would have two children; a daughter, Karyn in 1941, and a son, Jerry in 1944.

The Kupcinets' daughter, Karyn, moved to Hollywoodmarker in the early 1960s to pursue an acting career. On November 30, 1963, Karyn's nude body was found in her West Hollywood apartment. To date, her mysterious death, ruled to be a homicide by strangulation, as her hyoid bone had been broken, has never been solved.

In 2001, Essee Kupcinet died after 62 years of marriage.


On November 10, 2003, Irv Kupcinet died from respiratory complications from pneumonia at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He was 91 years old.


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