This comic's lengthy career in show business included just about every type of creative expression possible for a stage performer, including films, television, live performances, and books. On recordings, Alan King was of course well represented during a wave of so-called "party discs" featuring in his case Jewish humor; material of this ilk has been collected on reissues such as The Very Funny World of Alan King on the GMG imprint.
King was a protégé of the brilliant Milton Berle, paying his dues at Catskills comic clubs and developing a unique on-stage identity combining arrogance, impatience, goofiness, frustration, class, and what sometimes seemed like a stomach ache of some sort, all accompanied with the puffing of a lengthy cigar. He acted in 29 films, specializing in the roles of rabbis, agents, and gangsters. His five books include The Alan King Great Jewish Joke Book. In 2002 he won great praise in the title role in a stage portrait of movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn. He was born Irwin Alan Kniberg in New York City on the day after Christmas.