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Comedian's comedian Tim Conway dies

Comedian's comedian Tim Conway dies

May 15th, 2019 by Associated Press in National News

In this April 26, 1986 file photo, Carol Burnett, left, and veteran comrade in comedy Tim Conway laugh during a gala birthday party for Burnett in Los Angeles. Conway, the impish second banana to Burnett who won four Emmy Awards on her TV variety show, starred aboard "McHale's Navy" and later created a very short character named Dorf, has died. He was 85. Conway died Tuesday morning, May 14, 2019, in a Los Angeles care facility after a long illness, according to Howard Bragman, who heads LaBrea Media. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

Tim Conway, the comedian's comedian best known for his work on "The Carol Burnett Show," died Tuesday morning in Los Angeles, his rep, Howard Bragman, confirmed to the Los Angeles Times. He was 85.

Conway died in a long-term care facility after suffering complications of hydrocephalus, Bragman said. He also had dementia.

"I'm heartbroken," Carol Burnett told The Times in a statement Tuesday.

"He was one in a million, not only as a brilliant comedian but as a loving human being," she said. "I cherish the times we had together both on the screen and off. He'll be in my heart forever."

The comedian said he was born funny: "I am not really qualified to do anything but screw up," Conway told The Times in 2013.

He was born Thomas Conway on Dec. 15, 1933, in a Cleveland suburb and grew up an only child in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. He began making his classmates laugh, a habit that continued at Bowling Green State University, where he majored in speech and radio.

Conway changed his first name from Thomas to Tim, to avoid confusion with actor Tom Conway, who had made dozens of films in the '40s and '50s and died in 1967.

He worked in Cleveland radio, and by the late 1950s Conway's quirky sensibilities had found a home on local television. After a stint on "The Steve Allen Show" in New York, Conway came to prominence on television as a bumbling ensign in "McHale's Navy" opposite Ernest Borgnine from 1962 to 1966.

A year later, "The Carol Burnett Show" premiered with Conway as a frequent guest star. The series, which ran until 1978, redefined his career as he played such characters as the Swedish American Mr. Tudball, but it took a long time for Conway to become a regular.

Fortunately, he had a knack for making co-star Harvey Korman, who died in 2008, laugh. And Burnett. And just about anyone else who played opposite him in a skit on "The Carol Burnett Show" in the 1960s and '70s. Audiences laughed too.

"All of a sudden, in the ninth season of the show, we said, 'Why don't we have Tim on every week?' " Burnett told The Times in 2010. "He was already on about every other week. It was like 'duh.'"

"This lady is responsible for my career," Conway said in response.

The actor had his own short-lived sitcom in 1970. He also starred in the "Apple Dumpling Gang" movies in the 1970s and made a string of DVDs, starting in the 1980s, as the 4-foot-tall athlete Dorf. He later gained fame with a new generation as the voice of Barnacle Boy on "SpongeBob SquarePants."

During his career, Conway won six Emmy Awards—four of them for his work on "The Carol Burnett Show"—and a Golden Globe.

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