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Rip Taylor (1935–2019), zany comedian

Getty Images / FilmMagic for Academy of Television Arts and Sciences / Photo by Mathew Imaging

His over-the-top delivery made him a regular on TV game shows

Rip Taylor was a popular comic known for his outrageous personality. He was called the “king of confetti” for punctuating the end of his jokes by throwing a bucket of paper confetti into the audience. He was a popular game show panelist, appearing often during the heyday of the genre on “The Hollywood Squares” and “Match Game” and hosted the “$1.98 Beauty Show.” Taylor was a regular guest on talk shows and appeared on many TV series and had a funny role in “Wayne’s World II.” His signature bit before paper confetti was to pretend cry after reading a joke which led him to appear on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” where Sullivan forgot his name and introduced him as “The Crying Comedian.” His publicist Harlan Boll, who announced Taylor's death to the Hollywood Reporter, said Taylor was survived by his longtime partner Robert Fortney. 

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Died: Sunday, October 6, 2019 (Who else died on October 6?

Details of death: Died at the age of 84. 


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How he came up with the paper confetti bit: "I did props and I was 'The Prop Comedian.' I was dying like hell on Merv Griffin's show. The jokes were dumb, and I tore the 5 by 8 cards, threw them up in the air and it became confetti. I knocked over his desk, walked up the aisle, went to Sardi's and said, 'Well, that's the end of my television career.' I went home that night. Their switchboard had lit up. They said, 'Get the guy that went crazy!' And that is how the confetti started." —2011 interview with Classic Television Showbiz Blog 

What they said about him:  "Rest n Peace Mr. Taylor. Loved you, grew up watching you. Thank you for all the laughter you brought me." —Comedian David Alan Grier

"For sheer exuberance, silliness and energy, it was hard to top @RipTaylor [email protected] away today at 84. Loved him in Carson and countless other shows." —Al Roker

Full obituary: The Hollywood Reporter 

Related lives: 

Chuck Barris (1929–2017), outrageous game show creator

Kip Addotta (1944–2019), "Tonight Show" comic

Bob Smith (1958–2018), groundbreaking gay comic