Convy was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Monica (née Whalen) and Bernard Fleming Convy. Convy’s family moved to Los Angeles when he was seven years old. He later attended North Hollywood High School where he was an all-around athlete. He was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies when he was just 17, playing two years of minor league baseball in 1951–52. He later joined the 1950s vocal band The Cheers, who had a Top 10 hit in 1955 with “Black Denim Trousers And Motorcycle Boots”. Convy later attended UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television where he received a bachelor’s degree. Convy started his career in the entertainment business as a featured performer and singer in the Billy Barnes Revues of the 1950s and 1960s. He appeared in the 1961 Warner Brothers drama Susan Slade, playing Troy Donahue′s rival for the affections of Connie Stevens. Convy went on to became a Broadway actor, starring as Perchick in the original cast of Fiddler on the Roof (1964), appearing in The Impossible Years (1965) and creating the role of Cliff Bradshaw in Cabaret (1966). He also appeared in the Roger Corman film A Bucket of Blood, playing Lou Raby, and the soap opera Love of Life, playing Glenn Hamilton, a rapist.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Convy was a popular semi-regular panelist on several game shows, including What′s My Line?, To Tell the Truth, Match Game and Password. He soon took the podium himself as host of several game shows, including the fourth edition of Password (called Super Password) (1984–1989) and Tattletales (1974–1978, 1982–1984), for which he was awarded an Emmy for Best Game Show Host in 1977. In 1979, he appeared on Password Plus with fellow celebrity contestants such as Elizabeth Montgomery, Carol Burnett, Phyllis Diller, Judy Norton Taylor, Marcia Wallace and Elaine Joyce. Convy also hosted the first two seasons of the syndicated version of Win, Lose or Draw (1987–1989), which he co-produced with Burt Reynolds (under Burt and Bert Productions). The third and final season (1989–1990) of Win, Lose or Draw was hosted by Robb Weller, freeing up Convy to host his last game show (which he also produced), 3rd Degree, a syndicated program that ran during the 1989–90 TV season. Convy was planned as host for the 1990 revival of Match Game filming six pilot episodes for ABC executives, but he was too ill to continue once ABC greenlit the show; comedian and Love Me, Love Me Not host Ross Shafer took the role instead.
Convy was in the original Broadway cast of “Fiddler on the Roof” with Zero Mostel playing Perchik the Student and singing “Now I Have Everything” In the 1960–1961 season, Convy guest starred on Pat O’Brien’s short-lived ABC sitcom Harrigan and Son, as well as the ABC private detective show 77 Sunset Strip in the role of David. He was also cast on an episode of CBS’s The Mary Tyler Moore Show as Mary’s friend Jack Foster, alongside future Alice star Beth Howland. In 1973, Convy was a guest star in two episodes of Hawaii Five O. Convy also guest starred in an episode of Perry Mason titled “The Case of the Nimble Nephew.” In 1974, Convy portrayed Lt. Ostrowski, the police contact of elderly amateur sleuths in NBC’s short-lived series The Snoop Sisters. Convy attempted a short-lived variety series called The Late Summer Early Fall Bert Convy Show in 1976. In 1979, he appeared with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in their eponymous TV movie. Throughout his career, Convy was a frequent guest star on series such as Bewitched, Hawaii Five-O, The Partridge Family, Mission: Impossible, The Silent Force, The New Phil Silvers Show, Fantasy Island, Charlie′s Angels, and Murder, She Wrote (including the pilot episode). In 1983, Convy was cast as Neil Townsend on the ABC sitcom It’s Not Easy, playing opposite Ken Howard. Convy had joined the project when it was recast after its intended premiere in the 1982–83 season was delayed; he earned the role originally given to Larry Breeding, who was killed in a car accident in September 1982 after the first pilot was shot. Convy also starred in several movies, perhaps most memorably Semi-Tough (1977), in which he played a caricature of Werner Erhard named Friedrich Bismark. Other film credits included A Bucket of Blood (1959), Susan Slade (1961), French director Philippe de Broca’s Les Caprices de Marie (1970), SST: Death Flight (1977), the horror film Jennifer (1978), Hanging by a Thread (1979), Racquet (1979) as a tennis star, Hero at Large (1980), The Cannonball Run (1981) as Bradford Compton, and the TV movie Help Wanted: Male (1982). Convy tried his hand at directing with the 1986 comedy Weekend Warriors. In 1980, Convy produced and directed the Goodspeed Opera House premiere of the musical Zapata, with music and lyrics by Harry Nilsson and Perry Botkin, Jr., and libretto by Allan Katz. In April 1990, Convy was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after collapsing while visiting his mother there, and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He died on July 15, 1991 at his home in Brentwood of cardiac arrest due to the brain tumor (glioblastoma multiforme). He is buried at Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery.
- July, 23, 1933
- St. Louis, Missouri
- July, 15, 1991
- Brentwood, Los Angeles, California
Cause of Death
- cardiac arrest due to brain tumor
- Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
- Los Angeles, California