Harvey Korman Dead at 81

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, May 29, 2008.

  1. Principessa

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    Harvey Korman dies 4 months after aneurysm

    By BOB THOMAS – 1 hour ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Harvey Korman, the tall, versatile comedian who won four Emmys for his outrageously funny contributions to "The Carol Burnett Show" and played a conniving politician to hilarious effect in "Blazing Saddles," died Thursday. He was 81.

    Korman died at UCLA Medical Center after suffering complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm four months ago, his family said. He had undergone several major operations.

    "He was a brilliant comedian and a brilliant father," daughter Kate Korman said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "He had a very good sense of humor in real life. "

    A natural second banana, Korman gained attention on "The Danny Kaye Show," appearing in skits with the star. He joined the show in its second season in 1964 and continued until it was canceled in 1967. That same year he became a cast member in the first season of "The Carol Burnett Show."
    His most memorable film role was as the outlandish Hedley Lamarr (who was endlessly exasperated when people called him Hedy) in Mel Brooks' 1974 Western satire, "Blazing Saddles."

    "A world without Harvey Korman — it's a more serious world," Brooks told the AP on Thursday. "It was very dangerous for me to work with him because if our eyes met we'd crash to floor in comic ecstasy. It was comedy heaven to make Harvey Korman laugh."

    On television, Burnett and Korman developed into the perfect pair with their burlesques of classic movies such as "Gone With the Wind" and soap operas like "As the World Turns" (their version was called "As the Stomach Turns").
    Another recurring skit featured them as "Ed and Eunice," a staid married couple who were constantly at odds with the wife's mother (a young Vickie Lawrence in a gray wig). In "Old Folks at Home," they were a combative married couple bedeviled by Lawrence as Burnett's troublesome young sister.

    Korman revealed the secret to the long-running show's success in a 2005 interview: "We were an ensemble, and Carol had the most incredible attitude. I've never worked with a star of that magnitude who was willing to give so much away."

    Burnett was devastated by Korman's death, said her assistant, Angie Horejsi.

    "She loved Harvey very much," Horejsi said.

    After 10 successful seasons, Korman left Burnett's show in 1977 for his own series. Dick Van Dyke took his place, but the chemistry was lacking and the Burnett show was canceled two years later. "The Harvey Korman Show" also failed, as did other series starring the actor.

    "It takes a certain type of person to be a television star," he said in that 2005 interview. "I didn't have whatever that is. I come across as kind of snobbish and maybe a little too bright. ... Give me something bizarre to play or put me in a dress and I'm fine."

    Brooks tapped Korman's kinetic comic chops often, including roles in "High Anxiety," "The History of the World Part I" and "Dracula: Dead and Loving It."

    "I gave him tongue twisters because I knew he was the only one who could wrap his mouth around them," Brooks said. "Harvey was such a good solid actor that he could have done Shakespearean drama just as well and easily as he did comedy."

    Brooks described Korman as a "dazzling" comic talent.
    "You could get rock-solid comedy out of him. He could lift the material. He always made it real, always made it work, always believed in characters he was doing," he said.

    Korman's other films included two "Pink Panther" moves, "Trail of the Pink Panther" in 1982 and "Curse of the Pink Panther" in 1983; "Gypsy," "Huckleberry Finn" (as the King), "Herbie Goes Bananas" and "Bud and Lou" (as legendary straightman Bud Abbott to Buddy Hackett's Lou Costello).

    In television, Korman guest-starred in dozens of series including "The Donna Reed Show," "Dr. Kildare," "Perry Mason," "The Wild Wild West," "The Muppet Show," "The Love Boat" and "Burke's Law."

    Korman and "Carol Burnett" co-star Tim Conway continued working together into their '70s, touring the country with their show "Tim Conway and Harvey Korman: Together Again." They did 120 shows a year, sometimes as many as six or eight in a weekend.

    Korman had an operation in late January on a non-cancerous brain tumor and pulled through "with flying colors," Kate Korman said. Less than a day after coming home, he was re-admitted because of the ruptured aneurysm and was given a few hours to live. But he survived for another four months.
    "He fought until the very end. He didn't want to die. He fought for months and months," said Kate Korman.

    Harvey Herschel Korman was born Feb. 15, 1927, in Chicago. He left college for service in the U.S. Navy, resuming his studies afterward at the Goodman School of Drama at the Chicago Art Institute. After four years, he decided to try New York.

    "For the next 13 years I tried to get on Broadway, on off-Broadway, under or beside Broadway," he told a reporter in 1971.

    He had no luck and had to support himself as a restaurant cashier. Finally, in desperation, he and a friend formed a nightclub comedy act.

    "We were fired our first night in a club, between the first and second shows," he recalled.

    After returning to Chicago, Korman decided to try Hollywood, reasoning that "at least I'd feel warm and comfortable while I failed."

    For three years he sold cars and worked as a doorman at a movie theater. Then he landed the job with Kaye.

    In 1960 Korman married Donna Elhart and they had two children, Maria and Christopher. They divorced in 1977. Two more children, Katherine and Laura, were born of his 1982 marriage to Deborah Fritz.

    In addition to his daughter Kate, he is survived by his wife and the three other children.

    Associated Press Writers Alicia Chang and Raquel Maria
    Dillon contributed to this report.
     
  2. unabear09

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    WAAHHH!!! all of the greats are leaving us..... :(
     
  3. simcha

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    Aww, I'm going to miss him. I just loved him on the "Carol Burnett Show." He had a good long life though...
     
  4. catman

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    Truly a great 'second banana'.... I used to wait for the show just to watch the hysterical 'one upmanship' between he and Tim Conway (a running 'bet' was seeing who could crack the other up.... I have wonderful memories of them...and what a true ensemble cast... Each knew the others strengths and weaknesses... I wish the 'variety' show could return, but with 150 channels...I doubt it.

    he will be missed....
     
  5. Flashy

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    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!


    first Pollack, now Korman.



    I will miss Hedley LaMarr :frown1:


    Take the Pledge of loyalty to Hedley LaMarr

    YouTube - Pledge to Hedley Lamarr
     
  6. CUBE

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    I just adored Carol B's show. Such a great group. They so shaped my career in theatre. I so enjoyed Harvy Korman.
     
  7. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    Only the good die young.
     
  8. Bbucko

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    The Carol Burnett Show remains among the gold standards of American comedy almost thirty years later. He'll be missed.
     
  9. red7.5

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    When I was 10 Harvey Korman seemed like the funniest man in the world. Sorry he's gone.
     
  10. whatireallywant

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    I always loved that on the Carol Burnett Show, too! Korman/Conway were a great team!
     
  11. rawbone8

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    Goodbye
    Great
    Gazoo!

    Bedrock mourns.

    Voiced by the immortally
    impish Harvey Korman.


    R.I.P.

    [​IMG]
     
    #11 rawbone8, May 30, 2008
    Last edited: May 30, 2008
  12. faceking

    faceking Active Member

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    Guessing in syndication (which if anyone knows what network plays... appreciated)... as you were about 5-7 years old at the time.
     
  13. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    It's spring: the time of renewal and the time of death.

    More people die in spring than any other season.
     
  14. faceking

    faceking Active Member

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    Most ppl are born in August or September (it's been varying over the decades).

    Most ppl die in January .


    Just thought I'd give the back-hand of factual reality. Carry on.
     
  15. B_cigarbabe

    B_cigarbabe New Member

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    Happy trails "Great Gazoo"!!
    A wonderfully talented man.
    cigarbabe:sasmokin:
     
  16. faceking

    faceking Active Member

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    Oh... last I checked.... January ain'ts in Spring, now.....
     
  17. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    January isn't a season.
     
  18. simcha

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    I actually remember seeing it when I was that young, so both in syndication and when it was actually running. I also remember ABBA and dancing to "Dancing Queen" at around that time...

    I haven't seen it running in years and years anywhere. A very long time ago it ran on WGN channel 9 in Chicago. Not sure if it runs anywhere now. It seems with cable the way it is, it should be running somewhere? Maybe check out TVLAND?...
     
  19. camper joe

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    First I never knew he was the voice for The Great GAZOO. The things you learn here.:cool:
    Second what lost, Harvey Koman one of the best. RIP
     
  20. Northland

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    I absolutely adored the humor and facial expressions. Harvey Korman was one of my earlier crushes and I used to search television and movie listings just to find out when he would be appearing. So soon on the heals of Sydney Pollack passing, and Lou. This is not a good month.


    Sleep peacefully Harvey Korman.
     
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