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Rip Taylor, Flamboyant Comedian and Actor, Dies at 84


Rip Taylor, Flamboyant Comedian and Actor, Dies at 84

Rip Taylor, a flamboyant mainstay of the comedy circuit who was known for his gags involving confetti; for his brand of self-deprecating humor, which involved removing his toupee; and his extensive voice work, died on Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 84.

His publicist, B. Harlan Boll, said Mr. Taylor had a seizure and died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, although an exact cause of death had not yet been determined.

Mr. Taylor, who introduced himself to legions of television viewers on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and on game shows like “Hollywood Squares,” “Match Game” and “Super Password,” made hundreds of television appearances during his more than 50 years in show business.

“The greatest joy Rip had in life was from the result of making others laugh,” Mr. Boll said. “He didn’t have an easy childhood. Abused and bullied, he said he discovered early that they weren’t hitting you if they were laughing.”

Mr. Taylor was known for his wild style, his mustache and his affinity for nicknames, among them the King of Confetti and the Prince of Pandemonium. His television credits included appearances on “The Monkees” and “The Gong Show” and a stint as the host of “The $1.98 Beauty Show” from 1978 to 1980.

He maintained relevance later in his career, playing himself in the 1993 movie “Wayne’s World 2” and in the “Jackass” franchise. “The Simpsons” parodied him.

He appeared regularly on the annual Labor Day telethon hosted by Jerry Lewis benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In Las Vegas, he was named entertainer of the year three times, according to his biography.

Charles Elmer Taylor was born on Jan. 13, 1935, in Washington and was raised by his mother, Mr. Boll said. Mr. Taylor worked as a congressional page as a teenager and served in the Army during the Korean War, entertaining fellow soldiers while in combat.

He is survived by his longtime partner, Robert Fortney. Mr. Boll said a marriage to a showgirl ended in divorce.

Mr. Taylor’s voice proved to be a bankable commodity. He did voice work in a 1985 episode of “The Jetsons.” He was nominated for an Emmy for providing the voice of Uncle Fester in the animated television adaptation of “The Addams Family.”

In 1992, Mr. Taylor was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His penchant for showering television studio audiences with confetti lives on in a number of internet memes.

Mr. Taylor was often confused with the character actor Rip Torn, who died in July.

“He found humor in it,” Mr. Boll said. “In fact, when Rip passed away, he got notes and condolences. He made a big joke out of it. He said he hoped he got half as much attention when he died.”

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