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Rip Taylor, confetti comic and game show personality, dies at 84

by Ace Damon
Rip Taylor, confetti comic and game show personality, dies at 84

Comic Rip Taylor, a regular on TV shows and night games that was known to host the $ 1.98 "The Beauty Show," died Sunday at his Beverly Hills home. He was 84 years old.

The news was confirmed by its advertiser Harlan Boll.

"The greatest joy he ever had in life was the result of making others laugh," said Boll. "He didn't have an easy childhood. Abused and intimidated, he said he found out early that he wasn't hitting you if he was laughing."

Taylor was known for his overdelivery and propensity for confetti showers. He used to appear on TV shows and was a judge on The Gong Show. The show's host and creator, Chuck Barris, was so impressed by Taylor's jokes as a judge that he offered him the position of host of "The $ 1.98 Beauty" Show. "

Each episode of the show, which aired from 1978 to 1980, would end with Taylor offering a bunch of rotten vegetables and $ 1.98 in coins to the winner while saying, “You win the prize, get the cake. You get the crown and a ninety-eight dollar.

The man who would become known worldwide as Rip did not have a direct line in show business. He was born Charles Elmer Taylor Jr. in Washington, DC, as a waitress and musician and first worked as a congressional page before serving in the Army during the Korean War. So he started stand up at Catskills.

“I sat on a stool, telling jokes, and no one was laughing,” he told UPI in 1992. “Desperate, I pretended to cry when I begged them to laugh. It killed them. That's where he said the character "Rip" came from. Although he readily admitted to stealing jokes from USO programs, the weeping comedian led him to Ed Sullivan, where the TV host – forgetting Taylor's name – would say "bring me the weeping comedian."

The success spawned more success, and Taylor ended up touring with Judy Garland and Eleanor Powell in Las Vegas in 1966. He would make over 2,000 guest appearances on shows like "The Monkees", "The Merv Griffin Show", "The Tonight Show," ”“ Late Night with David Letterman ”and“ Hollywood Squares. ”With her thick blonde wig, exaggerated eyebrows and walrus mustache, Taylor was a remarkable presence.

Apparently he was so proud of his star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame that he regularly scheduled trips to polish and clean the square on 6625 Hollywood Blvd. Taylor has also done a good deal of voice work for animated and television films, including "The Jetsons" and "The Addams Family," for which he earned an Emmy nomination for playing Uncle Fester.

He appeared onstage in "Anything Goes", "A funny thing happened on the way to the forum" and "Sugar Babies" where he took over as Mickey Rooney. He played Fagin in "Oliver!" And Captain Hook in "Peter Pan". Taylor also wrote and performed an autobiographical play by a man called "Not All Confetti."

He also starred in films such as "Wayne's World 2" and, in the early evenings, made appearances at the end of each of the three "Jackass" films, in which it rained confetti to mark the end of the movie.

Taylor reflected in the 1992 interview that he always considered himself an actor.

"Rip is funny because he's crazy. Every night on stage he's cornered and insolent," Taylor said. "That's what I'm bringing to the role of straight actor."

Taylor leaves his partner, Robert Fortney.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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