Military Wiki
Phil Baker
Baker with Carmen Miranda and Alice Faye in The Gang's All Here (1943).
Baker with Carmen Miranda and Alice Faye in The Gang's All Here (1943).
Born (1896-08-24)August 24, 1896
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died November 30, 1963(1963-11-30) (aged 67)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Years active 1937-1960
Spouse(s) Peggy Cartwright (1932 - 1941, divorced) 4 children
Ingraad Erik (? - 1963, his death) 2 children

Phil Baker (August 26, 1896 – November 30, 1963) was an American comedian and emcee on radio. Baker was also a vaudeville actor, composer, songwriter, accordionist and author.[1]


He was born on August 26, 1896 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1]

Baker went to school in Boston, and his first stage appearance was in a Boston amateur show. Baker began in vaudeville playing the piano for violinist Ed Janis, and he was 19 when he teamed with Ben Bernie for the vaudeville act, "Bernie and Baker."[2] This originally was a serious musical act with Baker on accordion and Bernie on violin but eventually ended up with comic elements. After breaking with Bernie shortly after World War I, Baker partnered with Sid Silvers up until 1928.

Baker went on to pursue a successful solo career. His solo act included him singing, playing the accordion, telling jokes and being heckled by a planted audience member called Jojo. With this act, Baker played the Palace Theatre in 1930 and 1931.[3]

In 1923, Baker appeared in an early DeForest Phonofilm short A Musical Monologue in which he played the accordion and sang. Bernie also appeared in a DeForest Phonofilm Ben Bernie and All the Lads featuring Bernie's band and pianist Oscar Levant. During World War I Baker served in the US Navy.

Baker appeared with Carmen Miranda in the musical The Gang's All Here (1943).

On radio, he starred in his own series The Armour Jester on NBC. In the 1940s he appeared on Duffy's Tavern on February 22, 1944, and was the host of the quiz show Take It or Leave It,[4] which later changed its title to The $64 Question.

Phil Baker appeared briefly on television. In 1951 he hosted the panel quiz show Who's Whose, which was canceled after one episode.

He was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame with one star on February 8, 1960.[5]


He moved to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1960, where his second wife was born. Baker died on November 30, 1963 in Copenhagen.[1]


Baker had four children with Peggy Cartwright - Margot, Stuart, Michael and Susan. Michael is the well-known composer Michael Conway Baker. Baker later married Irmgard Erik, a Danish model, who had two children from a previous marriage, Philip and Lisa. Irmgard Erik Baker died in December 1997. Baker's likeness was drawn in caricature by Alex Gard for the walls of Sardi's, the New York City Theater District restaurant. That picture is now part of the collection of the New York Public Library.[6]


Baker appeared in a number of Broadway musicals:

  • Music Box Revue
  • Billy Rose's Crazy Quilt
  • Artists and Models
  • Greenwich Village Follies
  • A Night in Spain
  • Calling All Stars


Baker composed many songs, including:

  • "Park Avenue Strut"
  • "Look At Those Eyes"
  • "Just Suppose"
  • "Antoinette"
  • "Strange Interlude"
  • "Humming a Love Song"
  • "Rainy Day Pal"
  • "Pretty Little Baby"
  • "Did You Mean It?"
  • "My Heaven on Earth"
  • "Invitation to a Broken Heart"


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Phil Baker, Comedian, Is Dead. He Asked the $64 Question. Early Quizmaster on Radio. Accordionist Performed in Vaudeville and Musicals A Star at the Palace". December 2, 1963. Retrieved 2014-12-06. "Phil Baker, comedian and accordionist, died yesterday in his home in Copenhagen, Denmark, after a long illness. His age was 67. With his Danish wife, Irmgard Erik, a former dancer in this country, he settled in Copenhagen three years ago. ..." 
  2. Laurie, Joe, Jr. Vaudeville: From the Honky-tonks to the Palace. New York: Henry Holt, 1953. p. 86.
  3. Slide, Anthony. The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville. Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood Press, 1994. p. 21.
  4. "Comment". January 10, 1942. p. 8. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  6. The New York Public Library Inventory of Sardi's Caricatures

External links

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