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Comedian Ernie Kovacs Dead in Car Crash

Jan. 13, 1962 - Ernie Kovacs, comedian of the theatre, screen, and television, was killed today in a traffic accident. He would have been 43 on Jan. 23. The police in Los Angeles said Mr. Kovacs was killed when his station wagon skidded across wet pavement a half block from the Beverly Hilton Hotel and smashed into a power pole. The crash occurred shortly before 2 a.m. on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Los Angeles. Mr. Kovacs had attended a baby shower in honor of the wife of Milton Berle, the comedian. Mr. Kovacs and his wife, Edie Adams, actress and comedienne, had left the party in separate cars. Miss Adams learned of her husband’s death from Billy Wilder, the director, who had been host for the party. She was given a sedative and put to bed. The coroner’s office said that Mr. Kovacs had probably died at the instant of impact, apparently of a basal skull fracture. Patrolman John Bettfreund, on traffic duty, said it appeared that Mr. Kovacs “may have been traveling faster than the posted limit in that area.” The impact was so great that the left side of the wagon was caved in. One door on the passenger side had been torn open.

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