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Gordie Tapp (1922 - 2016)

Getty / Toronto Sun

Gordie Tapp (1922 - 2016)

Gordie Tapp, the Canadian actor, comedian, and musician who played Cousin Clem on the CBS variety show "Hee Haw," died Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, according to multiple news sources. He was 94.

"Hee Haw," the cornpone comedy program that was country music's answer to NBC's "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," featured the country music stars Buck Owens and Roy Clark. Tapp, who also wrote for the show, appeared in 90 episodes of "Hee Haw," which made its debut in 1969. The comedy show about colorful residents of the fictional Kornfield Kounty was dropped by CBS after two years, but "Hee Haw" would survive another 20 years in syndication, becoming a mainstay of American television fondly recalled by many who grew up in the 1970s and '80s.

Besides playing Cousin Clem, Tapp also played the characters Samuel B. Sternwheeler, the storekeeper Mr. Gordon, and Lavern Nagger, the henpecked husband of Ida Lee Nagger, played by Roni Stoneman.


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Gordon Robert Tapp was born June 4, 1922, in London, Ontario. He studied at the Lorne Greene Academy of Radio Arts. Greene, another famous Canadian, played the patriarch Ben Cartwright on the NBC Western series "Bonanza."

During the 1950s, Tapp served as the host of the "Main Street Jamboree" show on Canadian radio. He went on to serve as the master of ceremonies on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. show "Country Hoedown" from 1956 to 1965. He created his Cousin Clem character on that program.

Tapp was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1998, he was awarded the Order of Canada in recognition of his efforts to raise money for the Canadian Muscular Dystrophy and Easter Seals campaigns.

His wife of 73 years, Helen, survives him along with their two daughters and son.

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