Bill Nimmo

William Lorne "Bill" Nimmo (June 18, 1917 February 22, 2011)[1][2] was a television and radio personality whose career spanned seven decades.

William Lorne Nimmo
Born(1917-06-18)June 18, 1917
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
DiedFebruary 22, 2011(2011-02-22) (aged 93)
Milford, Ohio, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1941–1946
Rank Major
Unit1st Infantry Division
Battles/warsWorld War II
Awards Silver Star
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Invasion Arrowhead
(4) Campaign Stars
RelationsMariam (first wife)
Helen (second wife)
Geoffrey (son)
Doug (son)
Jane (daughter)
Other workTelevision and radio personality, Community Relations Director, Associate Professor of History

Early life and pre-network career

Nimmo was born on June 18, 1917 in Cincinnati, Ohio. After graduating from Western Hills High School, he attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He volunteered for the US Army in 1941 prior to the declaration of WWII. While serving with the 1st Infantry Division in North Africa he was awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star, and Bronze Star Medals, plus an Invasion Arrowhead and four Campaign Stars. Following a year of diplomatic service at the U.S. Embassy in Paris in 1945-46 he was honorably discharged with the rank of Major.

After a short stint as a teacher, he returned to Cincinnati in 1947 and landed a job as overnight disc jockey at WLW-AM with his distinctive baritone voice. In 1948 Bill became Cincinnati’s first television star on WLWT-TV serving as an announcer, newscaster, and host of various shows.[3][4][5]

Career on national television

In 1951 Nimmo moved to New York and went to work for network television. He played “Bill the Bartender” on the Pabst Blue Ribbon Wednesday Night Fights (CBS), in which he appeared live during the commercials to promote the sponsor, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.[6] He was also Johnny Carson's sidekick on the shows Do You Trust Your Wife? and later Who Do You Trust?

When Nimmo left the show in 1957, he recommended Ed McMahon as his replacement. When Carson and McMahon moved to The Tonight Show in 1962, Nimmo returned to Who Do You Trust? as announcer-sidekick for new host Woody Woodbury.[7] Although Bill would later admit leaving Carson was one of the biggest mistakes of his life, he had no regrets.[8]

Nimmo was also an announcer for The Jackie Gleason Show in 1952-53, Crime Syndicated, The Plainclothesman, and This Is Show Business, as well as for, Jack Lemmon, Garry Moore and Arthur Murray to name just a few. He was the spokesperson on long-running shows for Pepsodent, Newport cigarettes, and Schick electric shaver.[9] In addition he was the host of the game shows Keep It in the Family in 1957-58,[10] For Love or Money in 1958, and announcer on The Regis Philbin Show in 1964-65.[11]

Career after national television

After a year working on The Regis Philbin Show in Los Angeles, Nimmo returned to southwest Ohio for the remainder of his life. In 1966-67 he was the emcee on Be Our Guest (WLWT) with future wife Marian Spelman. Between 1967 and 1975, he served as the Community Relations Director at the University of Cincinnati, and was the producer of various television and radio shows. From 1975 to 1983 he was an Associate Professor of History at Southern State Community College in Fincastle, Ohio. In 1988 he narrated Powel Crosley and the 20th Century, bringing him full circle in his broadcasting career. In addition, he was a volunteer broadcaster at WMKV (89.3 MHz FM), hosting the radio show Two on the Aisle and WMKV Goes to the Pops. By permission from Nimmo’s family, you can continue to hear Two on the Aisle on Friday between 8-9 PM eastern and WMKV Goes to the Pops on Sunday from 12-1 PM and again Monday at 10-11 PM eastern.[12][13]

Personal life

Nimmo was married three times and had three children. He was preceded in death by wives: Helen Matthews (died 1969) Helen Gillette (died 2008) and Marian Spellman (died 2007), and one of his sons, Doug (died 1998). He is survived by a son, Geoffrey, a daughter, Jane Lejeune, and six grandchildren. Nimmo died on February 22, 2011.[14]

Awards and honors

1956: 'Best Announcer' award from The Auctioneers of America
1966: Appointed Kentucky Colonel
1991: Cincinnati Broadcasting Hall of Fame
1998: Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Cincinnati [15]

Medals and decorations

Silver Star
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
World War II Victory Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge
Invasion Arrowhead
(4) Campaign Stars[16]


  1. "Bill Nimmo, 93, WLWT pioneer | |". 2011-02-22. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
  2. "WLWT Broadcaster Bill Nimmo Dies At 93 - Cincinnati News Story - WLWT Cincinnati". 2011-02-23. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
  3. Bill Nimmo's resume
  4. Bill Nimmo's resume
  5. Bill Nimmo's resume
  6. Comment made by Bill Nimmo
  7. Bill Nimmo's resume
  8. Bill Nimmo on IMDb
  9. Bill Nimmo's resume
  10. "Bill Nimmo Obituary: View Bill Nimmo's Obituary by The Cincinnati Enquirer". Retrieved 2011-02-27.
  11. Bill Nimmo's resume
  12. Profile,; accessed June 14, 2015.
  13. Bill Nimmo's resume
  14. Nimmo curriculum vitae
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