Sammy Shore, an actor and stand-up comedian who co-founded the Comedy Store, a renowned Los Angeles comedy club that has nurtured generations of young comics, died May 18 at his home in Las Vegas. He was 92.
The Comedy Store confirmed the death in a statement but did not give a cause.
Mr. Shore’s nearly seven-decade career stretched from the “Borscht Belt” summer resorts of New York’s Catskill Mountains to Las Vegas to the studios of Hollywood. In the past two decades, he toured with his son, fellow comic Pauly Shore.
He began his career doing stand-up with Shecky Greene and was selected as the opening act for Elvis Presley’s comeback tour. Mr. Shore opened for many others, including Tony Orlando, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Tom Jones, Ann-Margret, Connie Stevens, Bobby Darin and Glen Campbell.
In 1972, Mr. Shore, his first wife, Mitzi, and his writing partner Rudy De Luca founded the Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip, in a building that was once home to the famed nightclub Ciro’s. Mitzi Shore took over the club as part of a 1974 divorce settlement with Mr. Shore.
“I could never have run it; it’s not in my skin,” he said in an interview for journalist Richard Zoglin’s book “Comedy at the Edge.” “But she never gave me credit. Everyone forgot about me. It became Temple Mitzi on Sunset Boulevard.”
The Comedy Store was a longtime home for up-and-coming comics, and a favorite of performers including Jay Leno, Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, Roseanne Barr and David Letterman. “In the ’70s and ’80s, this was the place you had to come to if you wanted to be a real comedian,” Jerry Seinfeld said in his web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”
Mr. Shore appeared in a dozen films, including “The Bellboy” (1960) with Jerry Lewis and Mel Brooks’s “History of the World: Part 1” (1981) and “Life Stinks” (1991). He also appeared on variety shows hosted by Orlando and Ed Sullivan, was a guest on Redd Foxx’s “Sanford and Son,” and released several books and comedy albums.
Survivors include his wife of 29 years, Suzanne Dennie Shore; three children, and two grandchildren. He is predeceased by a daughter.
“The bright light he shone and the laughter he brought into the lives of everyone he touched will never dim,” the Comedy Store said in a statement. “There is only one ‘Brother Sam’!”