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Comedy Store Co-Founder Sammy Shore Dies At Age 92



LAS VEGAS (AP) — Actor and standup comedian Sammy Shore, who co-founded the Comedy Store, has died at the age of 92.

The family said through a spokeswoman that Shore died Saturday at his home in Las Vegas surrounded by loved ones. He was the father of comedian Pauly Shore.

Sammy Shore’s nearly seven-decade career stretched from New York’s “Borscht Belt” summer resorts to Las Vegas and the studios of Hollywood. He opened for such legendary singers as Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett.

Shore, his first wife Mitzi and writing partner Rudy Deluca founded the world-famous Los Angeles comedy club, the Comedy Store, in 1972.

Pauly Shore tweeted that his father lived an “amazing life” and he’ll carry on his legacy.

Sammy was married to Suzanne Dennie Shore for the last 29 years.


Bill Buckner, Forever Known For Error, Dies At 69




BOSTON (AP) — Bill Buckner, a star hitter who became known for making one of the most infamous plays in major league history, has died. He was 69.

Buckner’s family said in a statement that he died Monday after a long battle with dementia.

Buckner won an NL batting title, was an All-Star and got 2,715 hits in a 22-year career.

But it was a little groundball in the 1986 World Series that forever changed his legacy.

Trying for their first crown since 1918, the Boston Red Sox led the New York Mets 5-3 going into the bottom of the 10th inning in Game 6 at Shea Stadium. The Mets tied it with two outs, then Mookie Wilson hit a trickler up the first base that rolled through Buckner’s legs, an error that let Ray Knight rush home from second base with the winning run.

The Red Sox lost 8-5 in Game 7, and their World Series drought continued until they won the championship in 2004.

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Worldwide Internet Sensation Grumpy Cat Dies At Age 7




MORRISTOWN, Ariz. (AP) — Grumpy Cat, whose sourpuss expression entertained millions on the internet, has died at age 7.

Her owners wrote on social media Friday that she experienced complications from a urinary tract infection and “passed away peacefully” Tuesday “in the arms of her mommy.”

Her owners said “Grumpy Cat has helped millions of people smile all around the world — even when times were tough.”

The cat’s real name was Tardar Sauce, and she rose to fame after her photos were posted online in 2012. She had more than 2 million followers on Instagram and more than 1 million on Twitter.

Her website says her grumpy look was likely because she had a form of dwarfism.

Owner Tabatha Bundesen founded Grumpy Cat Ltd., and the cat made numerous appearances, including commercials.

Here’s the family’s message, confirming the news about Grumpy Cat.

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Tim Conway, Beloved Comedian From ‘The Carol Burnett Show,’ Dies at 85




Tim Conway, whose gallery of innocent goofballs, stammering bystanders, transparent connivers, oblivious knuckleheads and hapless bumblers populated television comedy and variety shows for more than half a century, has died. He was 85.

His death was confirmed by his publicist, Howard Bragman, who provided no other details.

With a sweetly cherubic face, a deceptively athletic physicality and an utter devotion to foolishness and slapstick, Mr. Conway was among Hollywood’s most enduringly popular clowns. The winner of six Emmy Awards and a member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame, he was a leading non-leading man, a vivid second banana whose deferential mien and skill as a collaborator made him most comfortable — and often funniest — in the shadow of a star.

Conway passed away at 8:45 a.m. in the Los Angeles area on Tuesday, his rep Howard Bragman confirmed to the magazine.

For Mr. Conway, those stars were, most notably, Ernest Borgnine, with whom he appeared on the popular early-1960s series “McHale’s Navy,” and Carol Burnett, on whose comedy-variety show Mr. Conway was regularly featured from 1967 to 1978.

In an interview with the Archive of American Television in 2004, Mr. Conway recalled that when he was cast in “McHale’s Navy,” he was a novice actor.

“I had no professional training at all,” he said. “I had a sense of humor and had been in front of a microphone, but as far as doing movies or series work or anything like that, I had no idea.”

“The Carol Burnett Show,” which frequently burlesqued movie genres, soap operas and other cultural touchstones, was showered with awards and is widely regarded as one of the most influential comedy programs of all time.

Mr. Conway’s talent for fully inhabiting the realm of the absurd — and within an ensemble cast that included Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner — helped him thrive in the once-popular TV variety-show format of comedy and musical skits.

A featured guest and then a regular cast member on the CBS show from 1967 to 1978, Mr. Conway was an inveterate prankster who delighted in comic brinkmanship with Korman in particular. To that end, Mr. Conway hid his best comic ideas and script improvisations during rehearsals, unfurling them only during taping in front of a studio audience.

A dentist sketch has long been a staple of vaudeville routines, but Mr. Conway’s spin on it led to one of the most memorable scenes in TV comedy, a favorite of countless aspiring performers who praised his physical prowess and control.

Mr. Conway played a hapless dentist who pokes himself three times with the Novocain needle, while Korman, the helpless patient, looks on from the dental chair. Mr. Conway’s timing and matter-of-fact performance as a man left immobilized by his own incompetence left Korman desperately trying to suppress his laughter.

Finally unable to cope, Korman was said to have wet his pants on the air. “I’m very proud of that, too,” Mr. Conway later said, “because I owned a cleaners at the time.”

Donning a never-ending supply of obvious wigs, the balding, elfin Mr. Conway seamlessly adopted all manner of personas. As Mr. Tudball, a businessman with a strange hybrid Swedish-Romanian accent, he is perpetually exasperated by the ineptitude and indifference of his secretary, the rump-heavy Mrs. Wiggins (Burnett).

He was a Nazi officer who interrogates a prisoner of war (Waggoner) and, promising to “get rough,” whips out a Hitler puppet that sings “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” and “Dinah” in a German-accented falsetto.

As his recurring “Oldest Man” character, Mr. Conway was variously a butcher, an orchestra conductor, a doctor and a fireman — each with ludicrously slow motor skills and a mop of Einstein-like white hair. In one old man sketch, he fell down a flight of stairs at such a snail’s pace that it almost appeared to be a trick with the TV camera.

“I have never seen anything like it,” Burnett later recalled. “Harvey and I are just staring in shock. And he not only fell down in slow motion and collapsed, he proceeded to take the rug all the furniture was on and roll himself up! Chairs were falling over. It was a time I knew and wished I had invested in Depends.”

In 2002, Mr. Conway was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.

Thomas Daniel Conway was born in Willoughby, Ohio, on Dec. 15, 1933, and grew up in Chagrin Falls, a suburb of Cleveland. His mother was a first-generation Romanian-American. His father was an immigrant from Ireland who trained polo ponies and racehorses.

Despite his small size, Mr. Conway was adept at gymnastics, football, basketball and baseball — an athleticism that he later put in the service of physical comedy.

His struggle with dyslexia seeded the idea for a future in comedy. “People thought that I was kidding when I would read out loud in school, so they started laughing,” Mr. Conway told the publication American Profile. “For instance, the book ‘They Were Expendable,’ I read as ‘They Were Expandable.’ People were going, ‘This guy is great!’ . . . I thought, ‘I must be funny, so I might as well continue with this.’ ”

Mr. Conway graduated in 1956 from Ohio’s Bowling Green State University with a major in speech and dramatic arts. He then went into the Army and spent two years stationed in Seattle, an experience that he later reduced to one amusing incident.

On guard duty one night, he realized that he didn’t have his rifle. Seeing his lieutenant coming around the corner, he grabbed a fluorescent tube from a nearby garbage can, pointed it at the officer and ordered him to halt.

“What is that?” the lieutenant said.

“It’s a lightbulb,” Mr. Conway answered. “And if you come any closer, I’ll turn it on.”

(The dentist sketch was also based on an incident in the Army when he needed to have a tooth pulled, and the military dentist jabbed the needle so hard it went through his cheek and into the man’s thumb.)

After his discharge, Mr. Conway found work in Cleveland writing jokes for a radio DJ. He later performed improvised comedy bits as a sidekick to local TV host Ernie Anderson, with Mr. Conway pretending to be a guest trumpeter or bullfighter. Veteran comic actress Rose Marie, passing through town, brought him to the attention of TV variety-show host Steve Allen.

Mr. Conway’s regular appearances with Allen led to his breakthrough in 1962, playing the bumbling Ensign Parker on ABC’s “McHale’s Navy,” a sitcom starring Ernest Borgnine. It ran for four years.

In addition to his work on the Burnett show, Mr. Conway headlined several short-lived self-titled variety series. His film roles included “The Apple Dumpling Gang” (1975) opposite Don Knotts, as well as Disney fare that included “The World’s Greatest Athlete” (1973) and “The Shaggy D.A.” (1976).

In the late 1980s, Mr. Conway began releasing popular short films in which he played Derk Dorf, a tiny-legged instructor of golf, weightlifting and fishing with a vaguely Scandinavian accent.

In addition to his four Emmy Awards for “The Carol Burnett Show” — which he earned for performing and writing — Mr. Conway won an Emmy in 1996 for a guest appearance as a hapless gardener on the sitcom “Coach” and another in 2008 for playing an aging TV star named Bucky Bright on the sitcom “30 Rock.” He also voiced the character Barnacle Boy on “SpongeBob SquarePants” and guest-starred on sitcoms such as “Hot in Cleveland” and “Two and a Half Men.”

In 2013, he published a memoir, “What’s So Funny?,” written with Jane Scovell.

Mr. Conway’s first marriage, to Mary Anne Dalton, ended in divorce. In 1984, he married Burnett’s secretary, Charlene Fusco.

Besides his wife, survivors include six children from his first marriage; a stepdaughter; and a granddaughter.

(Reporting by The New York Times and The Washington Post).

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