May 10, 2000
A man of kaleidoscope interests, Shelly Gross has had a rich and varied career in many phases of the creative arts. Author, journalist, broadcaster, concert impresario and theatrical producer, Shelly Gross is perhaps best known as the co-producer and co-founder, of Music Fair Group, Inc., one of the nation's most active presenters of live, name talent.
Together with his life-long associate, the late Lee Guber, Gross presented on Broadway and on tour the smash hit revival of "THE KING AND I," starring Yul Brynner and Constance Towers. It was the seventh of nine theatrical Broadway collaborations by the GUBER/GROSS team.
Shelly also managed the country's most prestigious chain of theatres-in-the-round including the Valley Forge and Westbury Music Fairs. His company was actively engaged in concert and theatrical presentations on Broadway and throughout the United States and Canada.
Prior to his entrance into theatrical production and management, Gross was one of Philadelphia's best known radio and television personalities. As a graduate student at Northwestern University, he served on the news and special events staff of radio station WEAW-FM, in Evanston, Illinois, the nation's first commercial FM station.
In 1947 he moved to WFPG, Atlantic City, as the town crier. There he covered news and special events throughout the South Jersey area. In 1949, he was hired by WFIL AM/FM and television, the city's ABC affiliate in Philadelphia, as newsman, special events director and variety master-of-ceremonies where he worked for 10 years. He won the coveted TV Guide poll as the city's most popular commercial announcer.
In the late 1960's, his company, under his direction, purchased and operated radio station WZIX in York, Pennsylvania. He has been selected as "PERSON OF THE YEAR" by the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia in 1995. In 1999, he was inducted into the organization's "HALL OF FAME." He served as the Pioneers' President for two terms, 1997 to 1999. He then served as our Chairman of the Board of Directors, followed by a tour of duty on our Board of Directors.
A native Philadelphian, born on Wednesday, May 20, 1931, Mr. Gross was president and valedictorian of the 170th class of Central High School, an institution which claims such famous graduates as Alexander Wolcott, Ed Wynn and Louis Kahn. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and holds a Masters degree in Radio Journalism from the Medill School, Northwestern University.
During World War II, Gross served four years in the United States Navy, two years of which were spent in the South Pacific. As Lieutenant Senior grade, Gross served as top communications officer at the Naval Training Station, Bainbridge, Maryland, where he was assigned following his return from the South Pacific.
An oft-published novelist, Shelly Gross's most recent book "THE ROOTS OF HONOR" was published by Donald I. Fine. His most recent theatrical production was a two-year record-smashing national tour of Lerner & Loewe's "CAMELOT" starring Robert Goulet.
A Saturday, November 25, 1950 radio listing shows news from 6 pm to 6:15 on WFIL Radio. The listed newscaster was "Sheldon Gross." A Sunday morning TV listing for December 30, 1951 shows "The Inquirer Comics" read by Big Brother Shelly (Gross). It was on 10:45 to 11 am on Channel 6. In September of 2002, Shelly sold his Bryn Mawr home and moved to sunny Florida
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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