So Glad We Had This Time Together: RIP the great Tim Conway
May 14, 2019 12:57 PM   Subscribe

Actor and comedian Tim Conway, best known for his work on "The Carol Burnett Show," died on Tuesday morning in Los Angeles, according to his publicist. Conway was 85.

Conway won three Emmys for co-starring in "The Carol Burnett Show," which ran from 1967 to 1978, and a fourth as a member of its writing team. He also briefly headlined his own variety series and co-starred in several Disney live-action comedies during the '70s, such as "The Apple Dumpling Gang" and "The Shaggy D.A."

The Elephant Story
The Dentist
Mr. Tudball
As the Stomach Turns
Johnny Carson Interview
posted by I_Love_Bananas (86 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you have just 5 minutes today watch The Elephant Story. It really showcases the genius of his performance, in particular his impeccable timing.

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posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:01 PM on May 14 [17 favorites]


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posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:05 PM on May 14


I heard this on the radio while I was on the road. Conway working on Korman was a wonder to behold, and a masterclass on how to methodically destroy another comedian.

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posted by Thorzdad at 1:08 PM on May 14 [16 favorites]


I enjoyed many, many hours of Conway on "The Carol Burnett Show" when I was a kid, but I owe him for something much more.

I was working at the University library one night with a girl I had a crush on, and we started talking about Conway. While discharging books, I did an impression of his shuffle-footed old man when he runs into an area rug and yelps in dismay, and she just doubled over in laughter. First time I made a girl laugh that hard.

Thanks, Tim. Couldn't have done it without you.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 1:12 PM on May 14 [38 favorites]


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posted by LobsterMitten at 1:13 PM on May 14


FEEEE-braaay!

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posted by zaixfeep at 1:18 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


All the laughs he gave us. What a legacy!
posted by phrits at 1:19 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Before SNL came along and wiped the broader more farcical comedy from the scene, the Carol Burnett show was the funniest thing on TV.
Until of course, the 'Mama's Family' sketch killed everything that was great about the show and turned it into a screamfest.

RIP funnyman

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posted by exparrot at 1:20 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


When Tim Conway first came to Hollywood, he bought a house in a very middle-class San Fernando Valley neighborhood, albeit on a large lot with a long driveway. He was still living there when my family moved into a house two blocks away, and his long driveway was a prime target for daredevil bicycle riders, and he never came out to complain (although he did put in a gate halfway down the driveway soon after 8-year-old me joined the daredevils, providing himself improved privacy while allowing us a partial runway). He was still in that house when my parents moved out in the late '70s, after several years on the Carol Burnett Show and was reportedly still in that house well into his late 70s. The neighborhood celebrity.

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posted by oneswellfoop at 1:24 PM on May 14 [31 favorites]


📺
posted by clavdivs at 1:32 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


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posted by sammyo at 1:42 PM on May 14


I laugh incredibly hard every time I watch The Dentist sketch, like tears streaming down my face kind of laughter.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 1:45 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


Egads that Elephant Story is hilarious.

Godspeed.

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posted by parki at 1:48 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]




Conway and Korman as a fictional comedy team on Diagnosis Murder. (Clips from TCBS used as their old material.)

If there's an afterlife, it just got a lot funnier.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:03 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


🐘
posted by radwolf76 at 2:08 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


This, for me, is the platonic ideal of Tim Conway's work.
posted by RakDaddy at 2:10 PM on May 14 [10 favorites]


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posted by mikelieman at 2:11 PM on May 14


This , for me, is the platonic ideal of Tim Conway's work.

OMG yes. I've probably seen it more times than I can count, but when it gets to that part, I'm completely destroyed every time. Like, cat-scaringly loud hysterics.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:16 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


She would have made it . . . I could swear that I saw this bit back in the 70's when Conway got the punch line out perfectly, and Harvey Korman nearly died laughing, and so did I. It's almost as funny when Conway loses it. RIP, Tim.
posted by Zonker at 2:21 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


So much of TV in the 60s and 70s was bad, but somehow the comedy and music was great.
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posted by Bee'sWing at 2:25 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


"...a... koAHla...!"
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posted by PhineasGage at 2:31 PM on May 14


So glad you posted this. I thought creating two obits in a row would be too macabre.
Many many happy memories of enjoying his comedy with my family.
posted by gryphonlover at 2:40 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


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posted by Big Al 8000 at 2:48 PM on May 14


I loved him so much!

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posted by dawkins_7 at 2:53 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


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posted by Frayed Knot at 2:59 PM on May 14


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posted by me3dia at 3:00 PM on May 14


No one has ever made me laugh harder than Tim Conway, ever. On the floor, crying, can't breathe, hard, every single week. And there was almost always a moment just before, when you knew something was coming, just from the way Harvey Korman held himself, like he was preparing so hard not to laugh at something that hadn't happened yet. Tim Conway was really something special.
posted by ceejaytee at 3:01 PM on May 14 [11 favorites]


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 3:15 PM on May 14


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posted by hippybear at 3:21 PM on May 14


My party piece as a little kid was the "This man is completely hollow" bit from the Queen Elizabeth/Private Newberry sketches.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:22 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


Here’s to him being in a better place with his opium pipe and, uh, switchblade.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:25 PM on May 14


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posted by young_simba at 3:26 PM on May 14


OMG the dentist. Thank you.

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posted by Melismata at 3:48 PM on May 14


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posted by Splunge at 3:50 PM on May 14


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posted by eckeric at 3:50 PM on May 14


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posted by hydrobatidae at 3:51 PM on May 14


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posted by Sing Or Swim at 4:05 PM on May 14


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posted by Joey Michaels at 4:07 PM on May 14


When I was tiny and staying overnight with my grandparents, I would watch the Carol Burnett show and laugh because my grandparents were laughing. Until I saw The Dentist sketch and laughed so hard I could barely breathe. I think I was 3 or 4. After that, Tim Conway just had to appear on screen and I was delighted.


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posted by annathea at 4:13 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


OMG, this.

Godspeed, Tim.

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posted by droplet at 4:14 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


"Who is Conan O'Brien, and why is she so sad?"
posted by hearthpig at 4:24 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


I have very fond memories of watching the Tim Conway show as a kid, am surprised to discover it only lasted one season...I guess I must have seen it in syndication or sommat.

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posted by hearthpig at 4:28 PM on May 14


I admit to often being annoyed by Korman's inability to make it even five minutes into a sketch with Conway. I think Conway deserved a stronger straight man. But that wasn't his fault. He was amazing.
posted by emjaybee at 4:41 PM on May 14


Korman wasn't a straight man, per se. Nobody on that show was the straight man. But yeah, the corpsing.. I think it made the show more enjoyable for the viewer because you saw that even the people doing the comedy were being cracked up by it. That's not something you often see, so often you're laughing (as an audience) when nobody actually in the funny situation is laughing at it. Which is, like, not how life works really.
posted by hippybear at 4:48 PM on May 14 [7 favorites]


Tim Conway was some vague and distant relation of mine -- something like fifth cousin once removed. I now have lost my most famous quasi-relative, and I can now discard my opening gambit for what I would say if I ever ran into him.

I have watched a couple of videos of his celebrated performances today and I can't say they were much in sync with my sense of humour these days, but I recall being delighted by him when I was a kid. I will miss him like I miss other things from my childhood.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:03 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


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posted by haiku warrior at 5:03 PM on May 14


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posted by bonobothegreat at 5:06 PM on May 14


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posted by northtwilight at 5:08 PM on May 14


The one time I can recall my Dad and I laughing a deep belly-laugh together was when we were watching Conway and Burnett perform their “Mrs. Whiggins and Mr. Tudball” sketch.

Thanks for all the laughs, Tim.

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posted by darkstar at 5:09 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


For no good reason, we were just watching the very first Carol Burnett show, with Tim Conway introduced as not yet a permanent part of the cast. We looked him up to see if he was still alive, and as of yesterday he was . . . He made me laugh so hard.
posted by Peach at 5:15 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


I guess he was funnier on Burnett, but I first enjoyed him on McHale's Navy.
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posted by MtDewd at 5:47 PM on May 14 [7 favorites]


Are we intentionally not mentioning Dorf?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:07 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


Well, we were, but then you came along...
posted by hippybear at 6:11 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


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posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 6:21 PM on May 14


"Someone's in the kitchen vith Di-nah"

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posted by allthinky at 6:28 PM on May 14


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(sending him off with laughter....thanks for the clips!)
posted by pt68 at 6:46 PM on May 14


It's been years since I've watched anything with Tim Conway in it, but the Carol Burnett show was a big part of my childhood. We'd watch that as a family when it was on, or when there was a special. And for some reason we watched The Apple Dumpling Gang and The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again a lot on VHS.

The vibe I got from Conway the most, aside from being hilarious, was just ... kindness, maybe? I felt like his type of humor was without meanness. Seemed like he was a kind person in addition to being so damn funny. I need to get my partner and her kids to watch some Carol Burnett show, or at least a few of his clips. They've no idea what they're missing.

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posted by jzb at 6:52 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


"After that, Tim Conway just had to appear on screen and I was delighted."

I grew up watching Carol Burnett, and had the same feeling for Tim.

Recently, I watched the whole of Laugh-In. The show was a bit before my time, and I'd never seen it. Many of the guest stars were people I'd only knew after their prime, and some I'd simply never knew at all. But Tim, he was on a number of times, and whenever his name was announced, I was so happy. "This is going to be a good one -- my friend Tim is here!"

Thanks, Tim. Say hi to Harvey for us.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:54 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


He and Harvey are doing the Dentist for Lucy and George Carlin.
posted by Freedomboy at 6:56 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


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posted by tzikeh at 7:00 PM on May 14


The first time I saw the elephant bit I laughed so hard my grandmother thought there was something wrong with me. It still brings me to tears of laughter to this day. Godspeed Tim, and thank you.
posted by calamari kid at 7:05 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


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posted by rmd1023 at 7:33 PM on May 14


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posted by kestralwing at 8:24 PM on May 14


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posted by dannyboybell at 8:26 PM on May 14


Somehow my wife had never seen the Elephant sketch until tonight. I married her anyway.

My god he was so funny.
posted by grimjeer at 8:33 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


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posted by dougfelt at 8:58 PM on May 14


My family was near-religious in watching The Carol Burnett Show, and my parents would start laughing as soon as Tim Conway came onscreen, anticipating what was to come. Most of his most unforgettable pieces were from that show, but I have a very soft spot for a bit from The Private Eyes. The movie's not Conway's best work, but in my teens I thought the Time Gun was one of the most - literally - ridiculous things I'd ever heard, and Conway's earnestness about it just sealed it for me.

Your mileage may vary a lot on that, but back then it pushed all my buttons for [detective stories] + [inventions] + [shooting sports] + [comedy]. For years after we saw the movie, my sisters knew they could send me into a good 15 seconds of stop-in-my-tracks gasping laughter by just randomly mentioning the words "time gun".

(excuse me for a moment) OK.

Thank you, Mr. Conway.
posted by NumberSix at 9:03 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


MtDewd: "I guess he was funnier on Burnett, but I first enjoyed him on McHale's Navy."

Yeah, when I was a kid, I'd watch pretty much any old show in syndication. McHale's Navy was actually pretty good.

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posted by Chrysostom at 9:17 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


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posted by Sphinx at 10:52 PM on May 14


I've done Conway's "Mr. Tudball" voice for a lot of years to generally good effect. I owe him for that, and for a lot of laughs over the decades.

We lost one of the greatest today – Tim Conway may be the greatest ever! I will never forget on an Emmy Awards when Harvey Korman won & Tim did not. Harvey went up to accept his award, Tim went up and stood right next to him, not saying a word. Ginnie & I will miss him greatly!!
- @BobNewhart

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posted by bryon at 11:25 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


...I first enjoyed him on McHale's Navy."

I came in here to see if anyone else’s appreciation of Conway went back that far. I never really watched The Carol Burnett Show, but I was there for just about every episode of McHale’s Navy... usually sitting on the couch next to MtDewd.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:30 PM on May 14


I loved the way he could get my Dad laughing- shoulders heaving, tears streaming, so good.
Godspeed.
posted by cabin fever at 12:01 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Oh no! I am absolutely not watching the dentist skit. I just can't. No one was funnier than Tim. Well, maybe Carol is.
posted by Cranberry at 12:32 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


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posted by filtergik at 3:22 AM on May 15


I will never forget on an Emmy Awards when Harvey Korman won & Tim did not. Harvey went up to accept his award, Tim went up and stood right next to him, not saying a word.

Check it out here!
posted by PenDevil at 4:24 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]


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posted by camyram at 4:32 AM on May 15


He was a genius, and fortunate to have a venue with people who appreciated his skill: they seemed to be captured by him. His improvisation was an avalanche they could see coming, but they couldn't get out of the way.

He made me laugh. I had to. Out loud, until the tears came.
posted by mule98J at 6:52 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


ricochet biscuit: "Tim Conway was some vague and distant relation of mine -- something like fifth cousin once removed. I now have lost my most famous quasi-relative, and I can now discard my opening gambit for what I would say if I ever ran into him."

Hey, that mean's we're distantly and vaguely related! My mom was never clear on exactly how he was related, though, but it was distant enough that he wouldn't know who any of us were.

We also went to the same college, BGSU! And I grew up loving his comedy, re-watching his movies with Don Knotts over and over again as a kid.
posted by charred husk at 7:18 AM on May 15


I recommend the Emmy awards interview, including Conway and Korman's speeches. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1qebkWD67o
posted by MichelleinMD at 7:59 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


The Carol Burnett Show never made me laugh as a kid, so to me Conway was only the Disney movie characters. Decades later, I am realizing that was a very, very wrong impression: he was pretty damn funny, especially the short piece that droplet links to up-thread.

God, I've never watched any of these clips before!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:33 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


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posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 4:47 PM on May 15


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posted by riverlife at 7:52 PM on May 15


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posted by Gelatin at 6:10 AM on May 16


Ah, so *that's* where I developed my love of corpsing. (One of my favorite things in all of podcasting is hearing Paul F. Tompkins lose it.)

Rewatching those clips for the first time in decades was a nice reminder of Tim Conway's comedy genius. Ave atque vale, Maestro!
posted by whuppy at 11:25 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Sigh. He created some of the best comedic moments in the history of all of us ever.

Fuck.
posted by Xoebe at 4:08 PM on May 16


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