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Ronnie Burns, 72; actor son of comedians Burns and Allen

George Burns (left) and his son Ronnie tuned up for a performance on 'The George Burns Show.' The younger Burns played himself on the show. George Burns (left) and his son Ronnie tuned up for a performance on "The George Burns Show." The younger Burns played himself on the show. (NBC via Associated Press/File 1958)
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Los Angeles Times / November 18, 2007

LOS ANGELES - Ronnie Burns, 72, the son of George Burns and Gracie Allen who appeared occasionally with the comedy team on television in the 1950s, died Wednesday of cancer at his Pacific Palisades home, said his wife, Janice.

Mr. Burns played himself on "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show," which ran on CBS from 1950 to 1958, and "The George Burns Show," which ran one season after Allen retired from show business in 1958.

He studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse and appeared in other television shows in the '50s and early 1960s, including "The Honeymooners," "The Jack Benny Program," and "Playhouse 90," and headlined his own short-lived series, "Happy," in 1960.

George Burns and Allen adopted Mr. Burns a few months after he was born, and about a year after they adopted his sister, Sandra.

"He had a pretty charmed life growing up," Janice Burns said Thursday, describing it as a happy one filled with "parties, pony rides, a typical old-style Hollywood lifestyle."

In addition to acting, Mr. Burns also did production work on "Wendy and Me," a 1964-65 sitcom that starred his father.

After tiring of the limelight, Mr. Burns left the entertainment business and raced boats. He later invested in real estate, oversaw merchandising related to his parents, and bred Arabian horses in Santa Ynez.

Gracie Allen died in 1964 of a heart attack at 58, and George Burns died in 1996 at 100.

Mr. Burns leaves his wife, whom he married in 1977, and three sons by his first wife, Peggy.

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