Jack Benny (1894–1974) was an American comedian; vaudevillian; radio, television, and film actor; and violinist. Widely considered to be one of the top entertainers of the century, Benny portrayed his character as a miser, playing his violin badly. In character, he would claim to be thirty-nine years of age, regardless of his actual age. Benny was known for his impeccable comedic timing and the ability to create laughter with a pregnant pause or a single expression. His radio and television programs, popular from the 1930s to the 1970s, were a major influence on the sitcom genre.