Don Wilson

Don Wilson
Graybill Studios


Don Wilson
Radio: East side of the 1500 block of Vine Street
Radio Host | Radio Personality
Born Sept. 1, 1900 in Lincoln, NE
Died April 25, 1982 of stroke in Cathedral City, Calif.

Don Wilson was a jocular, rotund radio announcer who joked and winced at Jack Benny's wisecracks for 35 years.

Wilson joined the Jack Benny radio show in 1933 after a stint with NMB as a sports announcer. He recalled in a mid-1970s interview that he did play-by-play network sportscasting of the Rose Bowl games from 1930 to 1933.

Although Wilson was hired as an announcer, he soon became a character in the Jack Benny show and a foil for Benny. The Benny-Wilson team continued through the late 1960s, on both radio and television. When the show closed, Wilson and his wife, Lois, moved to Palm Springs to raise championship poodles.

But John Conte, an old friend in radio and others at KMIR-TV in the desert city, talked Wilson out of retirement and soon he became host of "Town Talk," a local talk show.

Wilson continued it until 1975, interviewing most of the television and movie personalities in Palm Springs. He left the show for crosstown rival station KESQ, where he started the "Don and Lois Wilson Show." It lasted six months.

Wilson began his radio career as a singer with a male trio on Denver station KFEL in the crystal set era of radio in 1923, he once recalled.

The trio toured the mountain states until 1927, when they began a year of performing on station KFRC in San Francisco.

By 1929, Wilson was head of the announcers' department at station KFI in Los Angeles. Then he became a sports announcer.

From 1929 until he joined the Benny show in 1933, he and Ted Husing were the top sports announcers on coast-to-coast radio.

Benny often joked about Wilson's weight on the show, although the announcer was faily well proportioned with 240 pounds on a 6-foot 2-inch frame.

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