LOS ANGELES – Rip Taylor, the madcap mustached comedian with a fondness for confetti-throwing who became a television game show mainstay in the 1970s, has died. He was 84.
Taylor died Sunday in Beverly Hills, California, publicist Harlan Boll said.
He was born Charles Elmer Taylor Jr. in Washington, D.C., to a waitress and a musician and first worked as a congressional page before serving in the Army during the Korean War, where he started performing standup.
His ascent began with spots on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” where he was known as the “crying comedian.”
“I sat on a stool telling jokes, and nobody was laughing,” he told UPI in 1992. “In desperation, I pretended to cry as I begged them to laugh. That killed 'em.”
In more than five decades in entertainment, Taylor would make more than 2,000 guest star appearances on shows including “The Monkees,” ''The Merv Griffin Show,” ''The Tonight Show,” ''Late Night with David Letterman,” ''Hollywood Squares” and “The Gong Show.” He hosted the beauty pageant spoof “The $1.98 Beauty Show.”
He also did a fair share of voice work for animated films and television including “The Jetsons” and “The Addams Family,” as Uncle Fester, which earned him an Emmy nomination.
He played himself in the movie “Wayne's World 2” and the “Jackass” movies.