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Comic genius Harvey Korman dead at 81.

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Published: May 30, 2008
The Wall Street Journal

Harvey Korman,

the award-winning comedic actor who rose to fame playing second banana to Carol Burnett on her television variety series and who starred in hit movies like “Blazing Saddles” and “High Anxiety,” died on Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 81.

The cause was complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm four months ago, his family said in a statement released by the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center.

A tall man known for his outlandish characterizations, Mr. Korman was nominated for seven Emmys for his television work and won four. He also was nominated for four Golden Globe awards, winning one.

“Everything he did on ‘The Carol Burnett Show,’ especially the Mother Marcus character, was a special favorite,” his daughter, Katherine Korman, said in an interview on Thursday.

Mother Marcus, which he played in drag, “was a Yiddish grandmother based on his own real-life grandmother,” she said.

Mr. Korman also considered Hedley Lamarr, his role in the 1974 film “Blazing Saddles,” as one of his favorites, she said.

A native of Chicago, Mr. Korman studied drama there and then tried, unsuccessfully, to break into show business in New York City.

“For the next 13 years I tried to get on Broadway, on off-Broadway, under or beside Broadway,” he said in an 1971 interview.

Eventually he gave up and returned to Chicago, but he later went to California to try again. After subsisting as a car salesman and movie doorman, in the mid-1960s he began getting minor movie parts, doing voice-overs as the Great Gazoo on “The Flintstones” and winning a TV spot on “The Danny Kaye Show.”

The Kaye show, which he joined in 1964, proved to be a springboard. It went off the air in 1967, but Mr. Korman soon landed a job on the Burnett show, which turned into his breakthrough.

He was a natural fit with Ms. Burnett, and their weekly comedy sketches won high ratings for the show and a national audience for him.

Their performing partnership lasted for a decade, and both of their television careers faltered after they split. He became the host of “The Harvey Korman Show,” which ended after one season.

Ms. Burnett acquired a new cast member in Dick Van Dyke but that partnership did not have the same chemistry. Her show ended soon after.

Crediting Ms. Burnett for giving him an opportunity, Mr. Korman once said:

“We were an ensemble, and Carol had the most incredible attitude. I’ve never worked with a star of that magnitude who was willing to give so much away.”

Ms. Burnett “loved Harvey very much,” according to her assistant, Angie Horejsi, The Associated Press reported.

Mr. Korman’s career was far from over after he left the Burnett show. He appeared as a guest star in dozens of television series, specials and movies as recently as 2004.

His roles covered a range of styles and included voice-overs in “Garfield and Friends,”Bud Abbott in “Bud and Lou,” co-host of “The Flintstones’ 25th Anniversary Celebration” and a guest appearance on “ER.”

Mel Brooks cast him not only in “Blazing Saddles” and “High Anxiety,” but also in “History of the World: Part I” (1981) and “Dracula: Dead and Loving It” (1995).

His film career also included “Huckleberry Finn” (1974), “The Pink Panther Strikes Again” (1976), “Curse of the Pink Panther” (1983), “The Flintstones” (1994) and “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas” (2000).

Mr. Korman reunited with a Burnett alumnus, Tim Conway, and toured the country to give live performances, reprising skits from the old shows as well as creating new material.

“They had a private jet and went all over,” Katherine Korman said.

Mr. Korman had two children, Maria and Christopher, by his first marriage, to Donna Elhart, and two more children, Katherine and Laura, by his second marriage, to Deborah Fritz.

Even when off stage and off camera, Mr. Korman still loved to clown, his daughter Katherine said.

“He was always funny in real life,” she said.

“He would like to see how far he could push the limits, making people laugh.

If he were here now, he would want us to be joking.”

HARVEY KORMAN AKA HEDLEY LAMARR
FEBRUARY 15, 1927 – MAY 29, 2008
R.I.P.

From “The Flintstones” to “Tom and Jerry”
To a loved, and well known comedy Star
Now, all we have are those memories
As Harvey looks down, from afar.

Millions watched his long career
With laughter’s tears, filling their eyes
Now, many more tears fall, in sorrow
At our loss, the whole World cries.

 

But, we still have all those memories
Of the laughter, and all the happiness
A great legacy to last us all, forever
Of his humor, which is timeless.

Far into this World’s distant future
Folks will watch, and laugh, and know
They are watching one of the best
Of the Fine Art of, The Comedy Show.

 

 

Del “Abe” Jones
05.30.2008

For more of Abe’s AMAZING work,

click his link below!

delabejones LINK!

9 Responses to “Comic genius Harvey Korman dead at 81.”

  1. HARVEY KORMAN AKA HEDLEY LAMARR
    FEBRUARY 15, 1927 – MAY 29, 2008
    R.I.P.

    From “The Flintstones” to “Tom and Jerry”
    To a loved, and well known comedy Star
    Now, all we have are those memories
    As Harvey looks down, from afar.

    Millions watched his long career
    With laughter’s tears, filling their eyes
    Now, many more tears fall, in sorrow
    At our loss, the whole World cries.

    Del “Abe” Jones
    05.30.2008

    “Mankind’s greatest accomplishment is not the revolution of technology it is the evolution of creativity “

  2. Dear Abe,
    your poem was so touching and well done,
    I added it to the story.
    THANK YOU for writing that
    and thank you for sharing it with
    the readers!
    Rash Manly

  3. That poem was so beautiful. I showed it to my husband (Harvey’s son Chris) about it and he was very touched. We will print it out and take it to the rest of the family.

    Thank you,
    Trish

  4. Dear Ms. Korman,
    THANK YOU for the kind words.
    .
    Mr. Jones’ wonderful poem
    is beautiful, I fully agree.
    .
    Harvey Korman will live forever in the
    hearts and minds of the world.
    He was a true comic genius,
    great actor, and great man.
    .
    His talent brought joy to millions.
    He will never, ever be forgotten.

  5. Dear Mrs. Korman,
    My condolences to you and Chris and the rest of the Korman Family and loved ones, and too, to the rest of the World for our Great Loss.
    Thank you for sharing him with us for the brief time he was of this Earth.

    But, we still have all those memories
    Of the laughter, and all the happiness
    A great legacy to last us all, forever
    Of his humor, which is timeless.

    Far into this World’s distant future
    Folks will watch, and laugh, and know
    They are watching one of the best
    Of the Fine Art of, The Comedy Show.

    Del “Abe” Jones

  6. Harvey Korman was such an intrical part of my childhood,
    from Carol Burnett to movies like Blazing Saddles…
    He taught me to laugh at myself, but most importantly
    to laugh at the world – to search for humor and to share
    it with those around me making the world a little better
    place.
    Abe your poem is such a reflection of the love and
    admoration so many of us feel for this dear man.
    thank you for sharing your heart – again.

  7. This is harvey korman’s son.Chris Thank you all for the respect you all have showed our family.The korman family are touched by your compassion and love for his body of work.He will be missed by many for so many reasons.Iam glad I have videos of his best work and for his grandsons to revel in his glory.God bless you all on this board for your class.

  8. You are so welcome, Chris.
    I have been a life long Harvey Korman fan.
    .
    I can not count the million laughs
    he has given me since childhood.
    .
    His inner goodness came through in his comedy
    and acting and his millions of fans could feel it.
    .
    When I was blue, he could make the sadness go away,
    and he did so, often.
    .
    He will NEVER be forgotten and his
    work will live on forever in the hearts and
    minds of his many fans.
    .
    The talented and amazing poet Del “Abe” Jones
    poetry expressed so well what Harvey’s millions
    of fans felt in their hearts.
    .
    A special thanks to Laura and Del
    for your comments and poetry, we all agree
    Harvey Korman was AMAZING!
    .
    From the staff of 22Moon (That is just me, James)
    it was an honor to try in some small way to
    pay tribute to your wonderful Father.
    .
    Best wishes to you and your family.
    James
    A/K/A Rash Manly

  9. A giant thanks to your wife Trish also
    for finding 22MOON and being so very kind, Chris.


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