Bill Dana

Biography: Known to millions as the easily confused, heavily accented Latino José Jimenez, Bill Dana was actually born William Szathmary-"a Jungarian Hew", explains Dana in his Jimenez dialect. A prolific comedy writer, Dana created special material for such performers as George Gobel and Don Adams throughout the 1950s. He joined the writing stable of The Steve Allen Show in 1956, making his on-camera debut as José Jimenez during a 1959 Christmas show. The sketch was predicated on the gimmick of a Puerto Rican Santa Claus whose hearty laugh came out "Jo, Jo, Jo!" The bit scored an immediate hit with the public, and soon the versatile Dana was a regular performer on the Allen show, playing a wide variety of dialect characterizations. When the Mercury space program became a hot topic, Dana cut a Grammy-nominated comedy album, José the Astronaut ("What will you do if you're lost in space?" "I plan to cry a lot") which accompanied many a genuine astronaut into the stratosphere. Dana broughtKnown to millions as the easily confused, heavily accented Latino José Jimenez, Bill Dana was actually born William Szathmary-"a Jungarian Hew", explains Dana in his Jimenez dialect. A prolific comedy writer, Dana created special material for such performers as George Gobel and Don Adams throughout the 1950s. He joined the writing stable of The Steve Allen Show in 1956, making his on-camera debut as José Jimenez during a 1959 Christmas show. The sketch was predicated on the gimmick of a Puerto Rican Santa Claus whose hearty laugh came out "Jo, Jo, Jo!" The bit scored an immediate hit with the public, and soon the versatile Dana was a regular performer on the Allen show, playing a wide variety of dialect characterizations. When the Mercury space program became a hot topic, Dana cut a Grammy-nominated comedy album, José the Astronaut ("What will you do if you're lost in space?" "I plan to cry a lot") which accompanied many a genuine astronaut into the stratosphere. Dana brought his Jimenez persona to 1961's The Spike Jones Show, then appeared on a semi-regular basis as José the elevator operator on The Danny Thomas Show. This stint spun off into Dana's own sitcom in 1963, The Bill Dana Show, in which José Jimenez was employed as a bellhop at a posh New York Hotel. The series was cancelled in 1965, after which Dana continued making TV guest appearances and the occasional movie (1967's The Busy Body, 1980's The Nude Bomb, etc.). In the early 1970s, Dana was compelled to "retire" José Jimenez in the face of protests from scattered anti-defamation groups, but he still had plenty of comedy material and projects up his sleeve. One of Bill Dana's strangest endeavors of the 1980s was No Soap Radio (1982), a non sequitur-laden sitcom (with such "characters" as a boy-eating sofa!) which Dana both starred in and co-produced. He retired from acting and writing in the mid-1990s. Dana died in 2017, at age 92. Expand

Bill Dana's Scores

  • TV
Average career score: N/A
Score distribution:
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0 tv reviews
Title: Year: Credit: User score:
tbd The Golden Girls: Season 7 Sep 21, 1991 Uncle Angelo 10
tbd The Golden Girls: Season 6 Sep 22, 1990 Uncle Angelo 9.8
tbd Matlock: Season 3 Nov 29, 1988 Writer tbd
tbd The Golden Girls: Season 3 Sep 19, 1987 Uncle Angelo 9.8
tbd St. Elsewhere: Season 6 Sep 16, 1987 Actor tbd
tbd St. Elsewhere: Season 5 Sep 24, 1986 Jonas Fiscus tbd
tbd The Facts of Life: Season 6 Sep 26, 1984 Mr. Mancuso tbd
tbd The Facts of Life: Season 2 Nov 19, 1980 Manager tbd
tbd Chico and the Man: Season 1 Sep 13, 1974 Writer tbd
tbd All in the Family: Season 2 Sep 18, 1971 Writer tbd
tbd Love, American Style: Season 1 Sep 29, 1969 Harvey tbd
tbd The Ed Sullivan Show: Season 22 Sep 28, 1969 Guest tbd
tbd Get Smart: Season 5 Sep 26, 1969 Writer tbd
tbd The Ed Sullivan Show: Season 21 Sep 29, 1968 Himself tbd
tbd The Ed Sullivan Show: Season 20 Sep 10, 1967 Jose Jimenez tbd
tbd The Ed Sullivan Show: Season 17 Sep 27, 1964 Jose Jimenez tbd
tbd The Ed Sullivan Show: Season 16 Sep 29, 1963 Himself tbd
tbd Make Room for Daddy: Season 10 Oct 1, 1962 Jose Jimenez tbd
tbd The Ed Sullivan Show: Season 15 Sep 30, 1962 Himself tbd
tbd Make Room for Daddy: Season 9 Oct 2, 1961 Jose Jimenez tbd
tbd The Ed Sullivan Show: Season 14 Sep 17, 1961 Jose Jimenez tbd
tbd Make Room for Daddy: Season 8 Oct 3, 1960 Jose Jimenez tbd