Many presenters and hosts, however, had a way with Kanter's words.
For decades, Kanter was the go-to wit to act as master of ceremonies or speak at Hollywood functions and other events.
At a testimonial dinner, he introduced comedy writer Sherwood Schwartz by saying: "Sherwood Schwartz. He sounds like Robin Hood's rabbi."
He even enlivened memorial services, including one for playwright Robert E. Lee, at which Kanter introduced himself by saying, "I'm the internationally famous writer-director who's known to his barber as 'Next!' "
Kanter was born Dec. 18, 1918, in Savannah, Ga., and moved to Long Beach, N.Y. when he was about 16. Or as he liked to say, he moved "from the deep South to the shallow North."
His Russian-born father, Albert, who exposed his children to great literature and was a humorous storyteller, later created and published "Classic Comics," a popular comic-book series featuring adaptations of famous literary works that became known as "Classics Illustrated."
Get breaking news alerts delivered to your mobile phone. Text BREAKING to 52669. You will receive up to 30 msgs/mo. Msg&data rates may apply. Text HELP for help. Text STOP to cancel.
At age 11, while living in Florida, Kanter began writing Boy Scout news for the Miami Herald. At 14, he was freelancing as a cartoonist and selling cartoon gags. And he was not quite 18 in 1936 when a job for a comic strip ghost writer took him to Hollywood, where he got his start in radio.
Kanter, who also contributed topical jokes to Olsen and Johnson's long-running hit Broadway revue "Hellzapoppin," served in the Army during World War II. As part of Armed Forces Radio Service in the South Pacific, he helped build an AFRS station on Guam and hosted his own shows.
After the war, he resumed his career in radio, including several years writing for Bing Crosby's show.
Kanter, who titled his 1999 memoir "So Far, So Funny: My Life in Show Business," received the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television from the Writers Guild of America in 1989.
In addition to his daughter Donna, he is survived by his wife of 70 years, writer Doris Kanter; his other daughters, Lisa Kanter Shafer and Abigail Kanter Jaye; his sister, Saralea Emerson; and a granddaughter.
No funeral service will be held.