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August 11, 2010

Buff Cobb, 1950s TV Host, Dies

Co-hosted the talk show Mike and Buff with her husband at the time, Mike Wallace

Buff Cobb, who in the early 1950s was co-host of the talk show Mike and Buff, died July 12, 2010, at a nursing home in Lebanon, New Hampshire. She was 82.

Cobb, an actress, appeared on the CBS show with her husband at the time, Mike Wallace, who went on to forge a four-decade career on 60 Minutes. Mike and Buff was adapted from a radio show that the two had worked on in Chicago.

In the TV show, based in New York and broadcast live on weekdays, the couple would debate a different topic each day, then try to settle their differences after interviewing experts. From 1951 to 1952 they were also hosts of another CBS show, All Around the Town, in which they conducted interviews at various social events and sites around New York City.

Cobb also appeared on the ABC game show Masquerade Party, in which a celebrity panel would try to guess the identity of other celebrities disguised in costumes.

She was born Patrizia Cobb Chapman in Florence, Italy, on October 19, 1927. Her mother, Elizabeth Cobb, was a playwright; her father, Frank Chapman, was an opera singer. Her grandfather was the author and humorist Irvin S. Cobb.

From Italy, Cobb’s family moved to New York, and later to Santa Monica, California. After high school she began acting with stock companies. From 1946 to 1948 she toured the country with Tallulah Bankhead in Noël Coward’s Private Lives. Her feature film credits include Anna and the King of Siam. In the 1970s Cobb produced a revival of Too True to Be Good, by George Bernard Shaw, and other Broadway plays

Cobb and Wallace married in 1949 and divorced in 1957. She married three more times. Her last husband, H. Spencer Martin, died in 1987.

She is survived by a half brother.

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