Milestones, Mar. 26, 1956

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Died. Fred Allen (real name: John Florence Sullivan), 61, radio and TV humorist whose topical, misanthropic wit and acidity reached its peak in the early '40s on the radio show Town Hall Tonight, which included his wife Portland Hoffa and such zany denizens of Allen's Alley as Titus Moody, Mrs. Nussbaum, Senator Claghorn and Ajax Cassidy; of a heart attack while walking his dog near midnight on Manhattan's West 57th Street. Born in Cambridge, Mass., Allen lurched onto the vaudeville boards at 17 as one of the most inept jugglers in history, became a comic after serving in World War I, starred in Broadway musicals through the '203. His radio career was highlighted by a longtime "feud" with Jack Benny and his life illumined with mordant comment on the American scene. Allen on Hollywood: "California is a wonderful place to live—if you're an orange"; on broadcasting: "The scales have not been invented fine enough to weigh the grain of sincerity in radio"; on studio audiences: "When I look at them, I think there must be a slow leak in Iowa."

Died. Boleslaw Bierut, 63, first secretary of the United Polish Workers' (Communist) Party, longtime slippery provocateur who was picked by the Russians to head the Moscow-sponsored Polish (Lublin) government during World War II and was muscled in as head of state two days after the Red army "liberated" Warsaw; of a heart attack; in Moscow, where he was stricken after attending last month's 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party.

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