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Dan Rowan
Dan Rowan
Born July 22, 1922(1922-07-22)
Beggs, Oklahoma
Died September 22, 1987 (aged 65)
Siesta Key, Florida
Years active 1952-1982
Spouse Phyllis J. Mathis (m.1946)
Adriana Van Ballegooyen (1963-1971)
Joanna Young (1974-1987)
Emmy Awards
Outstanding Variety or Musical Series
1969 Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

Daniel Hale “Dan” Rowan (July 22, 1922 – September 22, 1987) was an American comedian. He was featured in the television show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, where he played straight man to Dick Martin.



Born on a carnival train near the small town of Beggs, Oklahoma, under the name of “Daniel Hale David”, Rowan toured with his parents, Oscar and Nellie David, who performed a singing and dancing act with the carnival. He was orphaned at age 11, spent four years at the McClelland Home in Pueblo, Colorado, then was taken in by a foster family at age 16 and enrolled in Central High School (Pueblo, Colorado). After graduating from high school, he hitchhiked to Los Angeles, California, in 1940 and found a job in the mailroom at Paramount Pictures; quickly ingratiating himself with studio head Buddy DeSylva. A year later he became Paramount's youngest staff writer.

World War II

During World War II, Rowan served as a fighter pilot in the United States Army Air Forces. He flew Curtiss P-40s and scored two kills against Japanese aircraft before he was shot down and seriously wounded over New Guinea. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal, and the Purple Heart.

Comedy team

Dan Rowan and Dick Martin as caricatured for NBC by Sam Berman

After his discharge, he returned to California where he teamed with Dick Martin and started a comedy night-club act. The team had appeared on television before, but it was not until the success of a summer special in 1967 that they found fame on Laugh-In.

In 1946 he married the 1945 Miss America first-runner-up Phyllis J. Mathis and had three children: Thomas Patrick (born October 2, 1947), Mary Ann (born November 1, 1949), and Christie Esther (born September 13, 1951). He and Mathis were later divorced. In 1963 Rowan married again. His second wife was Australian model Adriana Van Ballegooyen (born May 5, 1942). They divorced eight years later. In 1974 he married model and TV spokeswoman Joanna Young. Their marriage lasted until his death at their home in Manasota Key, Florida, in 1987. His daughter Mary was briefly married to Peter Lawford. His son Tom Rowan is an entertainment lawyer.

Rowan retired and spent the remainder of his years between his residence in Florida and his barge in the canals of France. In his 40s he was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, which led him to becoming insulin dependent. He died of lymphatic cancer in 1987 in Siesta Key, Florida.

In 1986, a book of letters written between himself and author John D. MacDonald was published entitled A Friendship: The Letters of Dan Rowan and John D. MacDonald, 1967-1974.

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