Tim Conway of ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ dies at 85

Comedian won four Emmy Awards, starred in ‘McHale’s Navy,’ and voiced ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ character

In this March 19, 1978 file photo, Carol Burnett, right, laughs with Tim Conway during taping of her final show, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/ George Brich, File)

Tim Conway, the impish second banana to Carol Burnett who won four Emmy Awards on her TV variety show, starred aboard “McHale’s Navy” and later voiced the role of Barnacle Boy for “Spongebob Squarepants,” has died. He was 85.

Conway died Tuesday morning in a Los Angeles care facility after a long illness, according to Howard Bragman, who heads LaBrea Media. Conway’s wife, Charlene Fusco, and a daughter, Jackie, were at his side.

A native of Ohio, Conway credited his Midwestern roots for putting him on the right path to laughs, with his deadpan expression and innocent, simple-minded demeanour.

“I think the Midwest is the heart of comedy in this country, and a little bit of the South, too,” he told the Wisconsin State Journal in 2005. “For some reason, we’re just more laid-back, more understanding. … And Midwesterners have a kinder sense of humour.”

READ MORE: Legendary actress and singer Doris Day dead at 97

Those qualities probably contributed to his wide popularity on “The Carol Burnett Show,” which he joined in 1975 after years as a frequent guest. The show aired on CBS from 1967 to 1978 and had a short summer stint on ABC in 1979.

“We really didn’t attack people or politics or religion or whatever. We just made fun of, basically, ourselves,” he said.

The show operated with just five writers, one producer, one director and without network interference. The ensemble cast surrounding the redheaded star included Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner.

“I don’t think the network would allow a show like ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ now because we had such freedom,” Conway said in his interview with the State Journal.

While America was laughing at Conway, so were his co-stars: Burnett and Harvey Korman were often caught by the camera trying not to crack up during his performances.

The short, nondescript Conway and the tall, imposing Korman were a physical mismatch made in comedy heaven. They toured the country for years with a sketch show called “Together Again,” which drew on characters from Burnett’s show.

Besides the four Emmys he won with Burnett (three as a performer, one as a writer), he won Emmys for guest appearances in 1996 for “Coach” and in 2008 for “30 Rock.”

Conway also had a modest but steady movie career, appearing in such films as “The Apple Dumpling Gang” (1975), “The Shaggy D.A.” (1976), “Cannonball Run II” (1984), “Dear God” (1996) and “Air Bud 2” (1998).

Lynn Elber And Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

‘I just don’t get it’, Wash Me on Ludlow suffers thefts and abuse of services

Owner Michelle Nischi is concerned for her health and her business

Ladysmith businesses carry on in the time of COVID-19

Local businesses struggle to stay open and serve the public

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

Ongoing list of Ladysmith COVID-19 cancellations and closures

Everything in Ladysmith that has been impacted by COVID-19

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

The government has rolled out a bailout package totalling more than $200 billion

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

Newspapers are safe to touch, World Health Organization confirms

Just make sure to wash your hands as you would after touching any surface or object

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Most Read