kids encyclopedia robot

Gene Shalit facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Gene Shalit
Shalit on Today, 1973
Born (1926-03-25) March 25, 1926 (age 97)
New York City, U.S.
Education Morristown High School
Alma mater University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
  • Journalist
  • film critic
  • literary critic
  • television personality
  • author
  • press agent
Years active c. 1960–2010
Television Today
Nancy Lewis
(m. 1950; died 1978)
Children 6, including Willa

Eugene Shalit (born March 25, 1926) is an American retired journalist, television personality, film and book critic and author. After starting to work part-time on NBC's The Today Show in 1970, he filled those roles from January 15, 1973 until retiring on November 11, 2010. He is known for his frequent use of puns, his oversized handlebar moustache and fuzzy hair, and for wearing colorful bowties.

Early life and education

Shalit was born in New York City and raised in Newark and Morristown, New Jersey. In high school he wrote a humor column for the school newspaper, which Gannett has identified as "The Korn Krib". Shalit is of Jewish ancestry.

Shalit wrote for The Daily Illini for six years at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (1943–1949).


Shalit, according to a New York Times Magazine interview of Dick Clark, was Clark's press agent in the early 1960s. Shalit reportedly "stopped representing" Clark during a Congressional investigation of payola. Clark never spoke to Shalit again, and referred to him as a "jellyfish".

Shalit has been involved in reviewing the arts since 1967 and has written for such publications as Look magazine, Ladies' Home Journal (for 12 years), Cosmopolitan, TV Guide, Seventeen, Glamour, McCall's, and The New York Times. From 1970 to 1982 he broadcast a daily essay on NBC Radio "Man About Anything", that was carried on more stations than any other NBC network radio feature.

In 1986, Shalit hosted a videocassette and laserdisc collection from MCA Home Video, Gene Shalit's Critic's Choice Video. Four images (five on the laserdisc covers) of Shalit appeared in a filmstrip on the front of the box with his reviews on the back. Titles included Touch of Evil, Destry Rides Again, Double Indemnity and The Ipcress File.

Shalit announced that he would leave The Today Show after 40 years, effective November 11, 2010. He was quoted as saying: "It's enough already," about his retirement. He has largely stayed out of the public eye since then, only appearing once for Willard Scott's retirement from NBC in 2015.

Written works

Shalit has written and edited various books.

Personal life

Shalit was married to Nancy Lewis from 1950 until her death from cancer in 1978. For much of his career he lived in Leonia, New Jersey, although as of 2012 he was listed as a resident of Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Nancy Lewis' and Gene Shalit's children include the artist and entrepreneur Willa Shalit. Another child is Peter Shalit, a physician and recognized authority on gay men's health and living with HIV. Their daughter Emily died of ovarian cancer in November 2012.

Shalit crashed his car in Lenox, Massachusetts, on October 24, 2012, after falling asleep at the wheel. Misdemeanor charges of negligent driving to endanger were later dismissed after he agreed to stop driving until the dismissal, and to follow a "safety condition" approved by his attorney and the police chief.

Cameo appearances and popular culture

Shalit guest-starred as the voice, and was portrayed in the form of a fish food critic named "Gene Scallop" in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "The Krusty Sponge".

He has been parodied in several episodes of Family Guy in cutaway gags. In "Brian Sings and Swings", Shalit mugs Peter in a cutaway and makes threats using several movie title puns ("Don't Panic Room ... I'm not going to William Hurt you. I only want your Tango & Cash. So just Pay it Forward and we'll all be Happy Gilmore!"), which only serves to confuse Peter. In "The Book of Joe", Peter haunts Shalit and his fictional wife Joanne (who is identical to Shalit himself with a large moustache) by pretending to be the ghost of Roger Ebert. In another episode, Peter obtains the power of transformation and while in the form of Britney Spears he kisses Justin Timberlake and then turns into Shalit, exclaiming to a horrified Timberlake, "I'm Gene Shalit now! BYE!". In "Big Man on Hippocampus", Peter reads aloud a review that was supposedly written by Shalit. Another reference is when Peter is being told that all white people look alike, in reply a cutout of Gene Shalit's face is placed over Peter's as he asks "We all look alike do we!?"

Shalit also voiced a character portraying himself in three episodes of the animated series The Critic.


Shalit was portrayed in two episodes of Saturday Night Live by Jon Lovitz, and later in nine episodes by Horatio Sanz in sketches and Weekend Update sequences.

Shalit was also portrayed on Second City Television several times by cast member Eugene Levy.

On Late Night with David Letterman Shalit had his head squashed between two giant comedy hammers during an interview with David Letterman.

Women's History Month on Kiddle
Women Scientists of Antiquity
Mary the Jewess
kids search engine
Gene Shalit Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.