Harvey Korman, the tall comic who made his name as one of the regulars on The Carol Burnett Show, passed yesterday at the age of 81. The cause was complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Korman was born on February 15, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois. He served in the United States Navy during World War II. Following the war he studied drama at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago. Four years later he made his way to New York City to try to break into show business. He spent the next thirteen years trying to get onto Broadway and was forced to support himself as a restaurant cashier. Out of desperation he formed a nightclub comedy act with a friend, only to be fired after their first performance. Korman returned to Chicago.
Three years later Korman sought to make his fortune in Hollywood. He sold cars and worked as a theatre doorman to make a living. Finally, in 1961, he landed part in the Herschell Gordon Lewis film Living Venus. For the next few years he made guest appearances on such shows as Hennesey, The Untouchables, Perry Mason, and Route 66. He also provided the voice of the Great Gazoo on The Flintstones. It was in 1964 that he received his big break, as a regular on The Danny Kaye Show. He continued to make guest appearances, on shows ranging from The Munsters to F Troop. He also appeared in movies, such as Lord Love a Duck and Three Bites of the Apple.
Immediately after The Danny Kaye Show went off the air in 1967, Korman became a regular on The Carol Burnett Show. Korman won no less than four Emmys for his work on the show and was nominated for a total of seven. In all, Korman was with The Carol Burnett Show for ten years. During this period he also guest starred on The Wild Wild West.
The Seventies saw Korman appear in more motion pictures, most notably as a crooked politician in Blazing Saddles. He also appeared in the films Huckleberry Finn, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, High Anxiety, and The Longshot. In 1978 he had his own short lived TV series. In 1980 he was a regular on the short lived Tim Conway Show. He guest starred on The Muppet Show, Burke's Law, Diagnosis Murder, and ER.
Harvey Korman was a versatile comic actor who could play a wide variety of often bizarre characters. He was equally believable as Ed in the "Ed and Eunice" skits on The Carol Burnett Show and Mother Marcus, a character he based on his own grandmother. He was one of those very few comic actors who, whenever he appeared on the screen,was guaranteed to get a laugh. He will be missed.