Tim Conway, a legendary comic known for his hysteria-inducing bits on The Carol Burnett Show, has died, People Magazine reports. He was 85.
Due to legal wrangling within his family, his rep's statement was unusually worded, noting that Conway had "suffered complications from Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) and had no signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s."
Born December 15, 1933, in Willoughby, Ohio, he studied TV and radio at Bowling Green and was a DJ for while ahead of a two-year stint in the army.
In the early '60s, Conway cut his teeth in local TV, honing his skills as a gonzo prankster. Discovered by Rose Marie (1923-2017), who was visiting Conway's station to promote her upcoming role on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966), Conway made the move to NYC, where he made his national-TV debut on The Steve Allen Plymouth Show (1960). He stuck with Allen through a handful of other variations of the show.
With very few other major credits to his name, Conway was hired as Ensign Charles Parker on McHale's Navy (1962-1966), which became a beloved classic sitcom, allowing him plenty of space to show off his uniquely goofy, broad sense of humor.
In 1969, he was on Turn-On, one of TV's most infamous flops, and a counterculture comedy effort deemed so awful it was canceled days after its first airing. Conway's final tweet, in 2018, made light of the series' failure:
Though often recall as a regular cast member on The Carol Burnett Show, Conway was always billed as a special guest from 1967-1975. His ability to ad-lib and break up his scene mates, particularly Harvey Korman (1927-2008) were highlights of the esteemed show, making him a household name thanks to characters like Mr. Tudball (with a Romanian accent inspired by Conway's own mom), The Oldest Man and weird little Mickey Hart, who was part of the show's iconic The Family sketch.
Two of Conway's most sterling moments on the show were Mickey Hart's ad-libbed remembrance of a circus elephant (which led to an outtake in which co-star Vicki Lawrence, b. 1949, got the last laugh) and his physical-comedy take on a dentist who keeps accidentally sticking himself with Novocaine.
From 1975-1978, Conway was a regular on the show.
Conway anchored his own series unsuccessfully, with The Tim Conway Comedy Hour (1970) and The Tim Conway Show (1980-1981).
Along with many TV appearances, Conway was an MVP in such family-oriented film fare as The World's Greatest Athlete (1973), The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975), Gus (1976), The Shaggy D.A. (1976), The Billion Dollar Hobo (1977), They Went That-a-Way & That-a-Way (1978), The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979) and The Private Eyes (1980).
Younger generations would know his voice as Barnacle Boy on SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-2012).
The four-time Emmy winner published a successful memoir entitled What's So Funny? less than six years ago, and promoted it extensively.
Conway is survived by his longtime wife, his stepdaughter, six children and two granddaughters.