The Hilarious Buddy Hackett
By: Linnea Crowther
5 years ago
When comedian Buddy Hackett died 10 years ago this week, a lot of laughter died with him. In this story from last June, we put the spotlight on Hackett’s funny roles as well as his serious side.
Buddy Hackett got his start as a standup comedian, performing in upstate New York's Borscht Belt nightclubs before he was even out of high school. His success there led him down to the big city, where he performed in bigger and more famous clubs, and even on Broadway. TV roles followed, with an early starring role on Stanley, one of the last live TV sitcoms. The show was also notable for featuring a young Carol Burnett as the girlfriend of Hackett's character.
Hackett’s work on TV – including regular appearances on The Hollywood Squares and frequent guest spots on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson – led to movie roles. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World put Hackett on the map, and The Love Bug brought him to an even wider audience – the Disney audience.
Buddy Hackett was best known for his comedic roles, but he wasn't afraid of playing it serious. He portrayed Lou Costello, alongside Harvey Korman as Bud Abbott, in the TV movie Bud and Lou. Though he played a comedian, the subject matter was serious – and Hackett was able to display his range.
Buddy Hackett's career was long and diverse, with roles beyond comedy and drama – big-budget musicals like The Music Man, voice work in cartoons like The Little Mermaid, and more.
When Hackett died in 2003 at the age of 78, he left behind his wife of nearly 50 years, three children – and a lifetime of funny.