• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Harvey Korman Dies at 81

Legendary comic actor Harvey Korman has died. He was 81.

Harvey Korman Blazing Saddles Photo

Comic actor Harvey Korman has died at 81, according to the UCLA Medical Center. Korman died at the center four months after suffering complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. “It was a miracle in itself that he survived the incident at all. Everyone in the hospital referred to him as ‘miracle man’ because of his strong will and ability to bounce right back after several major operations,” said Korman’s daughter, Kate Korman. “Tragically, after such a hard-fought battle, he passed away.”

Korman was a regular on “The Carol Burnett Show” from 1967 through 1978, for which he won Emmy awards in 1969, 1971, 1972 and 1974. He also won a Golden Globe for his work on the series. The lanky Korman also appeared in Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles” (as the sneering Hedley Lamarr), “High Anxiety” and “History of the World, Part 1.” He starred in his own short-lived situation comedy, “The Harvey Korman Show,” in 1978, in which he portrayed Harvey Kavanaugh opposite Christine Lahti, who played his wife, Maggie. He made dozens of appearances in other television shows and movies during his lengthy show-business career, including providing voices for several animated productions. Among those was The Great Gazoo, a helmeted space man who appeared in some episodes of “The Flintstones.”

Angie Horejsi, an assistant to Burnett, told The Associated Press that Burnett was devastated by Korman’s death: “She loved Harvey very much,” Horejsi said. The AP also reported that 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, according to AP.

I grew up watching the Burnett show. As talented as the star and the others in that ensemble cast were, most episodes were stolen by Korman and Tim Conway, who were constantly trying to crack one another up during scenes. A couple examples from YouTube below, while they last:

Rest in peace.

UPDATE: Allie has similar thoughts at Gone Hollywood.

Related Posts:

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.