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Rickie Layne, ‘Sullivan Show’ ventriloquist, dies

Yiddish-accented dummy Velvel called host ‘Ed Solomon’
/ Source: The Associated Press

A ventriloquist who frequently appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” has died.

Rickie Layne appeared with his Yiddish-accented dummy Velvel.

Singer Nat “King” Cole discovered Layne at a nightclub on the Sunset Strip and urged Sullivan to put the act on his popular Sunday night variety show.

Layne appeared several dozen times. Sullivan was such a fan that he often got into the act himself, serving as straight man for the dummy that called the typically stone-faced host “Ed Solomon.”

Family members say Layne died earlier this month of heart failure at the age of 81.