Tim Conway, legendary comedian and longtime cast member of the sketch comedy troupe behind The Carol Burnett Show, passed away on Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. He was 85.
A representative for Conway told Variety died from water in the brain. Last year, he had been diagnosed with dementia, which confined him to a wheelchair and required brain surgery.
Born in Willoughby, Ohio on December 15, 1933, Conway studied speech and radio at Bowling Green State University before serving in the Army for two years. Following his service, he began his career in show business working for local Cleveland radio and television stations.
His promotional work in television caught the eye of comedienne Rose Marie, who prompted him to audition for The Steve Allen Plymouth Show. He impressed Allen so much that he became a regular on the show by 1961 and in his next series 1961’s The New Steve Allen Show.
The following year, he nabbed an essential role as Ensign Charles Parker on McHale’s Navy, which he played from 1962 to 1966. But it was his guest appearance in 1967 on The Carol Burnett Show that immortalized his career. He became a recurring member of the variety show before becoming a regular member of the troupe from 1975 until the show’s end in 1978.
By then, he had already appeared in multiple Disney movies, specifically 1973’s The World’s Greatest Athlete, 1975’s The Apple Dumpling Gang, 1976’s Gus, 1976’s The Shaggy D.A., and, yes, 1977’s The Billion Dollar Hobo.
After trying his hand at writing a number of comedy feature films, the sharpest being 1979’s The Prize Fighter and 1986’s The Longshot, Conway began issuing a series of how-to videos with his Dorf character, staring with 1987’s Dork on Golf.
Throughout the ’90s, Conway would appear on just about every popular sitcom and series. Among the many highlights included a recurring role as Ephraim Wanker on Married… With Children along with notable spots in The Larry Sanders Show, Coach, The Drew Carey Show, and Mad About You.
Although he slowed down during the aughts, Conway would voice Barnacle Boy in SpongeBob Square Pants and also appear in episodes of 30 Rock, CSI, Two and a Half Men, and Glee.
Conway won six of his 13 Emmy nominations. Of those, three were for his work on The Carol Burnett Show, including another for writing, and two were for his guest roles in Coach and 30 Rock.
He is survived by second wife Charlene Conway, who he married in 1984, and his seven children from his first marriage to Mary Anne Dalton.