Tim Conway, Comic and ‘Carol Burnett Present’ Star, Dies at 85


Tim Conway, the agile comic who was a core member of the “The Carol Burnett Present” troupe and starred in string of Disney movie comedies within the 1970s, died Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. He was 85.

A rep for Conway tells Selection he died from water on the mind.

In later years, Conway had success along with his “Dorf” sequence of comedian how-to movies wherein he performed a bumbling, diminutive Scandinavian character by standing on his knees. He additionally lent his versatile voice to a slew of animated productions starting from “SpongeBob SquarePants” to “Scooby Doo” to the Christian video sequence “Hermie and Mates.”

Over his lengthy profession, Conway was nominated for 13 Emmys and gained six. For “The Carol Burnett Present,” he was nominated six occasions as a supporting performer in a range or comedy sequence, successful in 1973, 1977 and 1978. He was additionally nominated as a part of the writing workers for the present, drawing three nominations and successful in 1978. Along with these 4 Emmy wins, he gained in 1996 for excellent visitor actor in a comedy, “Coach,” and in 2008 for visitor actor in a comedy for “30 Rock.”

On “The Carol Burnett Present,” Conway was so side-splittingly hilarious that he typically triggered co-star Harvey Korman to start laughing in the midst of a skit. He was recognized for ad-libbing bits that will problem Korman and different co-stars together with Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner.

Conway appeared as many characters on the present, however the two most well-known have been the Previous Man and Mr. Tudball. The Previous Man shuffled alongside at an agonizingly sluggish tempo vastly inadequate to the occupations wherein the present’s writers would place him. His incapability to get issues finished often resulted in slapstick, and Conway would advert lib a superb deal.

Mr. Tudball was a businessman who aimed to run a “ship-shape” workplace, however such intentions would all the time go unfulfilled due to the bored indifference of his secretary, Mrs. Wiggins (Burnett). The character was extensively regarded as Swedish, however Conway really imitated the accent of his Romanian mom.

“Carol Burnett” ran for 11 seasons on CBS from 1967-78. Conway appeared on a single episode in 1967 after which turned a daily member of the comedienne’s troupe from 1975 till the present’s finish.

In 2012 Burnett, Conway and Lawrence requested in an interview for Sirius XM Satellite tv for pc Radio if there have been events the place they apprehensive about having sufficient materials for the present, Burnett replied: “No, as a result of we might all the time rely on Tim to go over. So there was all the time sufficient present. In truth, generally, as a result of he would get on a roll and do stuff we had by no means seen earlier than, so perhaps a four-minute sketch would flip right into a 10-minute sketch — because of Conway — and we might then financial institution one other sketch that we have been going to try this week for one more week.”

Conway’s profession had first been jump-started by the World Battle II-set sitcom “McHale’s Navy,” starring Ernest Borgnine. He performed the bumbling, naive Ensign Charles Parker, government officer of the PT-73, on 138 episodes of the present (1962-66), in addition to the 2 function movies based mostly on it, receiving his first Emmy nomination for his efficiency, in 1963.

His run of Disney-produced household comedies started with 1973’s “The World’s Best Athlete,” wherein he performed the assistant to a determined school coach (John Amos) who finds a brand new participant in Africa — a Tarzan type performed by Jan Michael Vincent. Subsequent was 1975’s “The Apple Dumpling Gang,” wherein he starred with Don Knotts, amongst others (later Conway appeared within the 1979 sequel); “Gus,” additionally with Knotts, wherein a mule strikes from crew mascot to crew member; “The Shaggy D.A.,” with Dean Jones (Selection mentioned: “Conway is especially droll as a cloddish ice-cream salesman”); and “The Billion Greenback Hobo.”

Exterior of the association with Disney, Conway scripted the youngsters comedies “They Went That-A-Manner & That-A-Manner” (1978), wherein he and Chuck McCann performed inept cops informed by the governor to go undercover as inmates in jail to find the place an old-timer has hidden his loot, and co-penned “The Prize Fighter,” wherein he and Knott starred. The latter movie shared an important of plot with the vastly superior Danny Kaye boxing movie “The Child From Brooklyn,” itself a remake of the additionally vastly superior Harold Lloyd car “The Milky Manner.” Conway’s partnership with Knotts ended with the 1981 comedy “The Personal Eyes,” which Conway co-scripted. The pair performed doltish detectives working for Scotland Yard within the zany comedy.

“The Tim Conway Present,” a one-hour selection present, ran for 13 episodes in 1980-81 (one other present of the identical title had aired briefly in 1970); Conway acquired one other shot along with his personal present, CBS detective spoof “Ace Crawford, Personal Eye,” in 1983, however its run was additionally very transient. The sequence, nevertheless, was produced by Conway’s personal manufacturing firm, Conway Enterprises, which went on to supply his Dorf movies.

“The Longshot” (1986), directed by Paul Bartel, was fascinating for being a comedy scripted by Conway for adults; the movie, which starred Conway and Harvey Korman, amongst others, adopted a quartet of losers who borrow cash from mobsters to guess on a “positive factor”; after they lose, the gangsters come after them. The film didn’t appeal to a lot consideration, nevertheless.

He started his sequence of “Dorf” how-to movies with “Dorf on Golf” in 1987. Conway produced 9 Dorf movies general, on sports activities together with baseball, auto racing, and fishing.

In 1990 Conway guested on an episode of Bob Newhart’s CBS sitcom “Newhart.” He recurred on “Married… With Youngsters” as the daddy of Katey Sagal’s Peggy Bundy. He additionally guested on “Coach” in 1996 and ’97 — successful an Emmy for taking part in the inept gardener of Craig T. Nelson’s Coach — in addition to on “The Larry Sanders Present,” “Instantly Susan” and “The Drew Carey Present,” all in 1997, and on “Mad About You” in 1999. He recurred on CBS sitcom “Sure, Pricey” from 2001-05.

In response to the 2008 episode of “30 Rock” referred to as “Subway Hero,” David Hinckley wrote within the New York Day by day Information that “the true motive [‘Subway Hero’] is must-see TV is a visitor spot by Tim Conway as an old-time tv star whose deadpan recollections of the ‘good previous days’ hold getting weirder and funnier. He darn close to steals the present.” Conway subsequently gained an Emmy for the looks.

He guested on “CSI” in 2010, “Scorching in Cleveland” in 2010 and 2013, “Two and Half Males” and “Glee” in 2014.

Conway additionally made appearances in movies comparable to Garry Marshall’s 1996 comedy “Pricey God,” “Pace 2: Cruise Management” and “Air Bud: Golden Receiver” (1998).

Requested in a 2011 interview about comedy in the present day, Conway replied: “I hold onto the oldies. Jonathan Winters calls me about three occasions per week, and I by no means reply the telephone. I’ve all of his messages recorded. He all the time calls with a special character and he desires me to do one thing or seem someplace or go to an Military-Navy retailer for one thing. I’ve a whole bunch of those on the answering machine, however I by no means speak to him. As soon as in an important whereas I’ll decide up and speak to him.

“I form of fall again on that. However Bob Newhart and I, and Mike Connors, Steve and Eydie, get collectively each Tuesday evening and have dinner, simply to take a seat and speak. Many of the conversations have already been informed 20 or 30 occasions. However we simply be in contact like that.

“I don’t actually find out about who is de facto doing it lately.”

Thomas Daniel Conway was born in Willoughby, Ohio. He attended Bowling Inexperienced State College, the place he majored in speech and radio, and served within the Military. He began his profession in present enterprise working for a radio station, ultimately writing for the promotional division. There was already an actor named Tom Conway, so he turned Tim.

After his Military service ended, Conway returned to Cleveland to work with Ernie Anderson on KYW-TV in 1958-59 and on WJW-TV from 1960-62 on a weekday morning movie showcase (below the Ernie’s Place banner); Conway wrote materials for the comedic skits proven within the movie intermissions. He additionally recorded a comedy album with Anderson.

Comedienne Rose Marie found Conway and organized for him to audition for “The Steve Allen Plymouth Present”; Allen was so impressed with Conway that the comic turned a daily on the present in 1960. Conway was additionally a daily on Allen’s subsequent sequence, “The New Steve Allen Present,” in 1961.

The next 12 months he was signed to play Ensign Charles Parker on “McHale’s Navy.”

After that he starred in ABC’s transient comedian Western sequence “Rango” because the title character, a bumbling Texas Ranger, however the present ran for under 17 episodes in 1967. He acquired his personal sequence in 1970, however CBS’ “The Tim Conway Present,” wherein he performed a clumsy pilot at a fly-by-night airline, lasted solely a single season.

It was his hilarious work on “The Carol Burnett Present” — memorable a long time later to those that watched the present, and immortalized on YouTube — that was his actual reward to audiences.

Conway was married to Mary Anne Dalton from 1961 till their divorce in 1978.

He’s survived by second spouse Charlene Conway, whom he married in 1984, and 7 kids by Dalton, together with KFI Los Angeles radio host Tim Conway Jr.

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