Irving Kupcinet, the son of a truck driver, was born in North Lawndale on 31st July, 1912. After graduating from the University of North Dakota he joined the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League. A serious shoulder injury resulted in him giving up football and in 1935 became a sports writer with the Chicago Sun-Times.
In 1948 Kupcinet was given his own column for the Chicago Sun-Times. Over the years, his column was distributed to more than 100 newspapers around the world.
In 1952 Kupcinet became a television talk show host on CBS. Five years later he replaced Jack Parr on NBCs America After the Dark, which eventually became The Tonight Show. He also appeared in two movies produced by Otto Preminger, Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and Advise and Consent (1962). His daughter, Karyn Kupcinet, became an actress and appeared in The Ladies' Man (1961).
Irv Kupcinet knew Jack Ruby in Chicago in the 1940s. According to W. Penn Jones Irv kept in contact with Ruby and discovered that he was involved in a plot to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. Jones argues that Irv passed this information on to his daughter Karyn. In his book, Forgive My Grief, Jones reports that "a few days before the assassination, Karyn Kupcinet, 23, was trying to place a long distance telephone call from the Los Angeles area. According to reports, the long distance operator heard Miss Kupcinet scream into the telephone that President Kennedy was going to be killed."
Karyn Kupcinet's body was discovered on 30th November, 1963. Police estimated that she had been dead for two days. The New York Times reported that she had been strangled. Her actor boyfriend, Andrew Prine was the main suspect but he was never charged with the murder and the crime remains unsolved.
Some researchers claimed that there was a link between the death of Kupcinet and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It was argued that the conspirators were trying to frighten off Kupcinet from telling what he knew. Kupcinet rejected this idea. He wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times (9th November, 1992): "The NBC Today Show on Friday carried a list of people who died violently in 1963 shortly after the death of President John F. Kennedy and may have had some link to the assassination. The first name on the list was Karyn Kupcinet, my daughter. That is an atrocious outrage. She did die violently in a Hollywood murder case still unsolved. That same list was published in a book years ago with no justification or verification. The book left the impression that some on the list may have been killed to silence them because of knowledge of the assassination. Nothing could be further from the truth in my daughter's case."
Irv Kupcinet died of pneumonia in Chicago, Illinois, on 11th November, 2003.