Harvey Korman, RIP

posted at 9:45 pm on May 29, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Harvey Korman lit up the stage, screen, and television with his comic talent for decades, but he has finally left us wanting more. Korman died today from complications of an abdominal aneurysm he suffered four months ago, at the age of 81. Best known for his work on The Carol Burnett Show and in Mel Brooks’ movies, he had spent the last few years touring with his friend and longtime comedy partner Tim Conway:

Korman was a regular on “The Carol Burnett Show” from 1967 through 1978, for which he won Emmy awards in 1969, 1971, 1972 and 1974. He also won a Golden Globe for his work on the series.
The lanky Korman also appeared in Mel Brooks‘ “Blazing Saddles” (as the sneering Hedley Lamarr), “High Anxiety” and “History of the World, Part 1.” …
He made dozens of appearances in other television shows and movies during his lengthy show-business career, including providing voices for several animated productions. Among those was The Great Gazoo, a helmeted space man who appeared in some episodes of “The Flintstones.”

I didn’t know that he voiced Gazoo, but he was a remarkably adept performer. His work on The Carol Burnett Show gave him an opportunity to stretch himself, and his Hedley Lamarr character was perhaps his most memorable role. Here’s Korman with the great Slim Pickens in one of the cleaner segments from Blazing Saddles (but still not quite safe for work):

Godspeed, Mr. Korman, and thank you for all of the laughs.

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“Now go do that voodoo that you do so well”.

BallisticBob on May 29, 2008 at 9:48 PM

He and Mel Blanc are lauging in Andromeda at a very strange bar.

profitsbeard on May 29, 2008 at 9:50 PM

“Student?”
“Are you kiddin?”
“… Pain in the ass…”

He was awesome. Thanks for everything Harvey, rest in peace.

Dash on May 29, 2008 at 9:50 PM

Harvey Korman and Tim Conway doing the dentist sketch on the Carol Burnett show will always be one of my favorites. I still laugh when I see it. RIP Mr. Korman.

MrFreeman07 on May 29, 2008 at 9:51 PM

He was hilarious. Great sense of comedic timing and delivery.

Weight of Glory on May 29, 2008 at 9:54 PM

Count de Money

Thanks for laughs, Harvey.

EJDolbow on May 29, 2008 at 9:54 PM

This guy is one of my favorites….all time. This is sad news. Sad, sad news. An unbelievable talent who was fortunate to always work with unbelievable talent. From Carol,Tim, Mel, Peter,Madeline and oh so many others. God Bless You Harvey. He never was the six-foot rabbit…..or was he?

geminicontender on May 29, 2008 at 9:55 PM

Heh.

Weight of Glory on May 29, 2008 at 9:56 PM

Rest in peace sir.
I found one of my favourites on YouTube; the dentist sketch with Tim Conway.

Canadian Infidel on May 29, 2008 at 9:57 PM

I just mentioned this over on my blog. I still remember going to see Blazing Saddles when I was 12, back in 1975. My folks thought it was a clean Western they were taking me to. Despite the groans coming from the folks, they (and I) considered it the funniest movie they had ever seen, and that Harvey Korman absolutely MADE that movie.

R.I.P. Harvey Korman, give the man upstairs some humor.

john1schn on May 29, 2008 at 9:58 PM

Watching Conway try to break Korman out of character was always a hoot.

Try? Hell, he did it every time.

Thanks Mr. Korman.

SteveMG on May 29, 2008 at 9:59 PM

We have lost this special type of humor and humility. Harvey’s era was indisputably some of the best. I wish it would come back

geminicontender on May 29, 2008 at 10:00 PM

There’s one skit from The Carol Burnett Show that I remember where Tim Conway was playing a Nazi interrogator who threatened an American G.I. with a harsh questioning from “Der Fuhrer”. Korman’s character still resisted and he had to meet Der Fuhrer: a small Hitler hand puppet weilded by Conway.

Harvey Korman was in stitches the rest of the scene, and so was I. I’ve tried to find it on YouTube (and other video services) for years, but I’ve never been able to find it.

its vintage duh on May 29, 2008 at 10:00 PM

Harvey was a great comedian and he will be missed. The entire Carol Burnett show and cast proved that you didn’t have to be crude to be funny and they have all been class acts.
You will be missed Harvey.

Just A Grunt on May 29, 2008 at 10:01 PM

Funny, funny man. Thanks, Mr. Korman. You made me laugh.

“You dropped your beads.”

MikeZero on May 29, 2008 at 10:01 PM

My mom says bad news comes in 3′s. With Dick Martin and Sid Pollack, I certainly hope the bad news is over for awhile.
RIP, Harvey. You always made me chuckle.

Rhinoboy on May 29, 2008 at 10:05 PM

I met him at my Cousins wedding reception.

We were wearing almost indentical clothes. When we were introduced he said something about liking my taste in clothes. I was about 12 or 13.

He seemed like a great guy.

TheSitRep on May 29, 2008 at 10:05 PM

Taggart: What do you want me to do, sir?
Hedley Lamarr: I want you to round up every vicious criminal and gunslinger in the west. Take this down.
[Taggart looks for a pen and paper while Hedley talks]
Hedley Lamarr: I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071230/quotes

mred on May 29, 2008 at 10:06 PM

Funny, funny man. God Rest.

Bob's Kid on May 29, 2008 at 10:07 PM

RIP Harvey, you were great.

Hog Wild on May 29, 2008 at 10:09 PM

Jesus has two tears in his eye today, one for the family of Harvey Korman, the other because he is laughing so hard at Harvey Korman’s jokes now that he is back home in Heaven…

God Speed, indeed, Harvey Korman, you will always be remembered with a smile on our faces……… what a wonderful legacy and gift…….. God Speed, indeed….

Seven Percent Solution on May 29, 2008 at 10:10 PM

Damn I guess I’m getting old, the best actors and actresses are going in a hurry!

AMartinez on May 29, 2008 at 10:11 PM

Great comic actor. Gave me hundreds of laughs as a kid watching Carol Burnett. Blazing Saddles is a movie where people remember (or can quote) every scene, and Harvey had some of the best–”One please, Uhh, Student?”

dedalus on May 29, 2008 at 10:13 PM

I see the picture Ed posted of him from “Blazing Saddles” and I can’t stop hearing that song in my head:

He conquered fear and he conquered hate
He turned our night into day
He made his blazing saddle
A flame to light the way.

radjah shelduck on May 29, 2008 at 10:17 PM

Funny guy. Rest in peace, and don’t make the angels laugh too loud.

Sekhmet on May 29, 2008 at 10:18 PM

Those many skits on the Carroll Burnett Show are classics. He was one of the greats. Watching him and Tim Conway trying not to laugh… THAT was entertainment.

Godspeed Mr. Korman.

cannonball on May 29, 2008 at 10:20 PM

Just wow. There are so many classic comedians who lightened our lives, and we miss them in their passing with a lump in our throats and memories of heartfelt laughter. RIP, Harvey Korman. You were one of the classics.

onlineanalyst on May 29, 2008 at 10:24 PM

I’m trying to remember the exact line when the fine Dr. Seward was talking to one of his insane patient’s caretakers in “Dracula: Dead and Loving It”. Something along the lines of …

“Take him back to his room and
G-I-V-E
H-I-M
A-N-O-T-H-E-R
E-N-E-M-A !!!”

I’m laughing now thinking of that scene.

BowHuntingTexas on May 29, 2008 at 10:27 PM

As as kid I would watch him on Carol Burnett. Tim Conway would play the old guy who shuffled around (with Carol as his secretary “Mrs. Huuuuwiggins”) and he would make Harvey laugh just by looking at him.

Just watching Harvey try to hold it in threw me into gales of laughter, often it was funnier than the actual skit.

True comedians like Korman and Dangerfield are hard to come by, they were old school talent.

Bishop on May 29, 2008 at 10:28 PM

Simply unbelieveable…. Just about an hour ago I was watching my DVD of the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. Harvey had top billing right up their with Harrison Ford et. al. I’m 40 now, and I daresay the development of my sense of humor would have suffered greatly without all the childhood laughs he gave me on the Carol Burnett Show.

DoctorWu on May 29, 2008 at 10:30 PM

Harvey was a great comedian and he will be missed. The entire Carol Burnett show and cast proved that you didn’t have to be crude to be funny and they have all been class acts.
You will be missed Harvey.

Just A Grunt on May 29, 2008 at 10:01 PM

I guess you never seen the outtakes of this show ? They did take it risque at times is kind of fun to watch them.

William Amos on May 29, 2008 at 10:34 PM

I hate being reminded of our mortality.

RIP

The scene in High Anxiety where he becomes a referee always gets me cracking up.

Lily, Lily, Lily legs…

LOL…I’m sad about it…

benrand on May 29, 2008 at 10:41 PM

I spent a lot of after school hours back in the day watching the Carol Burnett Show.

The way the stars would deliberately blow up sketches and make each other go off-script was unbelievably funny. Any two cast members could crack a whole segment up in a few minutes, especially Korman and Tim Conway. Sometimes they had to stop the show because the two were laughing so hard during a sketch.

As a yoot I got much of my humor riffs from the Carol Burnett show, Monty Python, the Benny Hill show, Steve Martin, Stan Freberg and Bill Cosby records.

Harvey Korman will definitely be missed. He pretty much stole Blazing Saddles from Clevon Little and Gene Wilder.

RIP.

Mike D. on May 29, 2008 at 10:41 PM

“Gentlemen, rest your sphincters.”

What a comedian. Rest in Peace Hedey – no, that’s HEDLEY!

Dr. Gecko on May 29, 2008 at 10:42 PM

Count DeMonet is no more. Loved the guy, and he will be missed.

Krydor on May 29, 2008 at 10:43 PM

I`ll be watching my Blazing Saddles dvd this weekend, History of the World, Part 1. You just don`t see talent like him anymore.

Thank you for all the laughs sir.

ThePrez on May 29, 2008 at 10:43 PM

As several others have said, Korman trying to hold in the laughter on the Carol Burnett Show was priceless. That was the funniest part of the show for all us kids to watch. But we disagreed on whether he planned it that way for more laughs – it was funnier after all – but now I think Conway was just great at making him giggle.

inviolet on May 29, 2008 at 10:45 PM

I always liked this bit.

Guardian on May 29, 2008 at 10:50 PM

RIP, Mr. Korman. :(

Afterimage on May 29, 2008 at 10:56 PM

Korman & Burnett as Rhett & Scarlett was one of the funniest moments in TV history.

jgapinoy on May 29, 2008 at 10:57 PM

RIP, sir.

My kids are just getting into the early seasons of the Muppet Show (now out on DVD) and after the Honkers, Korman is their favorite. So I guess he’s their favorite human guest.

DrSteve on May 29, 2008 at 11:03 PM

I guess you never seen the outtakes of this show ? They did take it risque at times is kind of fun to watch them.

William Amos on May 29, 2008 at 10:34 PM

You mean like this!

Guardian on May 29, 2008 at 11:03 PM

I loved Korman’s work when I was a kid. (and as an adult) I think that Blazing Saddles is one of the funniest movies ever made. God rest his soul.

Hedley Lamarr: There might be legal precedent! Of course, landsnatching…
Hedley Lamarr: [flipping through a law book] land, land…”Land: see Snatch.” Ah, Hailie vs. United States. Hailie: 7, United States: nothing. You see, it can be done!

Claypigeon on May 29, 2008 at 11:08 PM

A truly funny man.

I grew up with Carol Burnett and Harvey and Tim were the best duo EVAH!

Last of a dying breed.

RIP Harvey. You made me laugh.

Talon on May 29, 2008 at 11:11 PM

Thank you for so many laughs. Godspeed, Harvey. Or as Nurse Diesel would say: “Those who are tardy do not get fruit-cup”.

Feedie on May 29, 2008 at 11:12 PM

I will always laugh when I seem in such films as Blazing Saddles or The Carol Burnett show.

It’s sad actually, that he could make you laugh without being complete crude or vulgar!!!

As somebody mentioned above, watching him and Tim Conway try and make the other person laugh on the show….PRICELESS!!!!

His comedy was the type that you could show your children without having to worry about some foul language slipping out. I think I’ll order some episodes from The Carol Burnett show and laugh all over again…

God Bless him and his family.

HarryStar on May 29, 2008 at 11:15 PM

He lived a wonderful life, it seems (who doesn’t love to make people laugh?), and for that I am glad. But Goodbyes are never easy.

So… Goodnight, Funny Man. Thanks.

Ugly on May 29, 2008 at 11:22 PM

Korman & Burnett as Rhett & Scarlett was one of the funniest moments in TV history.

jgapinoy on May 29, 2008 at 10:57 PM

Agreed. My son and I saw him and Conway live about three years ago. Great performance. Korman told a story about one of his grandkids walking up and asking him: “Grandpa, do you like frogs?” Korman said: “No, why?” The kid said: “Because mommy and daddy said when you croak we get a lot of money.” RIP Harvey.

labrat on May 29, 2008 at 11:24 PM

Sweet dreams, Hedley ~ you and your froggie.

tree hugging sister on May 29, 2008 at 11:31 PM

I’ve sure had a lot of laughs delivered to me by Harvey Korman, we will all miss him, Godspeed Harvey and God Bless.

Maxx on May 29, 2008 at 11:35 PM

Thanks for many many laughs Harvey. RIP.

thebrokenchair on May 29, 2008 at 11:42 PM

It’s normally not nice when one hears about the death of someone so beloved. But hearing the sad news brings back so many memories of so much humor, I can’t help but to start chuckling. Thanks so much for the joy, Harvey.

stonemeister on May 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Thanks Harvey and godspeed to the
pearly gates,I watched Carol Burnette
every week as a kid,loved the laughs,
a real class act,again thank-you!

canopfor on May 30, 2008 at 12:01 AM

It’s not Shmedley…..it’s HEDLEY!!!!!!!

Winebabe on May 30, 2008 at 12:13 AM

Nobody better than Harvey, Carol, Tim and Vicky. I remember when I was around 12 or so, one “As the Stomach Turns” sketch with Betty White as a drug addict. I laughed so hard I cried.

RIP Harvey you will be missed.

GoodBoy on May 30, 2008 at 12:19 AM

john1schn wrote:

I still remember going to see Blazing Saddles when I was 12, back in 1975. My folks thought it was a clean Western they were taking me to. Despite the groans coming from the folks, they (and I) considered it the funniest movie they had ever seen, and that Harvey Korman absolutely MADE that movie.

I had almost the exact experience. That movie and Hank Aaron had so much influence on my growing up it’s amazing.

Thanks Hedy!

noblejones on May 30, 2008 at 1:05 AM

I was about 20 when I went to see Blazing Saddles with my parents. We all went assuming that it had to be funny because Harvey Korman was in it, and we weren’t disappointed. As others have said, he stole the show, just as he and Tim Conway used to on the Carol Burnett Show. More than three decades later, I watch the movie on DVD at least once every couple months and laugh as hard as ever.

God rest ye merry, gentleman.

SynthSmith on May 30, 2008 at 1:34 AM

I was shocked seeing this, I don’t know why. 3 deaths this week, Sydney Pollack, Dick Martin, now Harvey Korman. I loved him on Carol Burnett and his relationship with the cast, especially Tim Conway. They really don’t make them like they used to. RIP, Harvey and blessings to his family and loved ones. He will be surely missed. I really do miss those zany old shows, that was entertainment.

Conservatives R Us on May 30, 2008 at 2:28 AM

RIP sir.

I sit here laughing just remembering the Carol Burnet skits mentioned and of course the Blazing Saddles scenes, but everyone seems to have forgeten the Gone with the Wind skit. Never have a set of drapes been put to better use.

Jim708 on May 30, 2008 at 5:06 AM

“and Methodists” kills me every time :)

“Dont get saucy with me, Bernaise.”

Dash on May 30, 2008 at 7:02 AM

It’s normally not nice when one hears about the death of someone so beloved. But hearing the sad news brings back so many memories of so much humor, I can’t help but to start chuckling. Thanks so much for the joy, Harvey.

stonemeister on May 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM

I too, was saddened by the news of his passing but have been chuckling ever since. What a legacy when millions of people can laugh when you pass away.

And I’m watching my copy of “Blazing Saddles” this weekend in his honor.

RIP Harvey. “Now go do that voodoo that you do so weeelllll!”

JohnnyD on May 30, 2008 at 7:12 AM

Man, what a terrible week! The country/world is sucking like crazy and then you tell me another of my favorite people died! Excuse me while I break out ‘Blazing Saddles’ and forget the rest of the world.
RIP Harvey

Jimmybob on May 30, 2008 at 7:17 AM

Boy, this makes me long for a belly-laugh sketch show during prime-time that you can watch with your family. Godspeed Harvey.

deedledee on May 30, 2008 at 7:25 AM

It’s good to see that other people remember High Anxiety…it’s a vastly underrated movie.

“I’ll see you later in my bedroom.”

“Not tonight, I’m too tired.”

“I’ll let you wear my underwear.”

“I’ll be there.”

James on May 30, 2008 at 7:33 AM

RIP, Harvey.

Tim trying to crack Harvey up (and succeeding most of the time) is comedy gold.

My favorite movie he was in is actually High Anxiety with Mel Brooks in his send-up of Hitchcock movies, with Chloris Leachman and Madaline Kahn.

Darksean on May 30, 2008 at 7:54 AM

There’s no one to fill this guys shoes. I’ve been watching Blazing Saddles recently as its been re-running on amc etc. Those folks must’ve had an absolute blast making that movie. Humor with extreme debth.

Hedley Lamar will be missed. DD

Darvin Dowdy on May 30, 2008 at 8:17 AM

Hard to believe Mel Brooks is outliving all of his stars.

I’m sure Harvey is having a blast now with Madeline Kahn.

rockmom on May 30, 2008 at 8:38 AM

Rest in peace Harvey

Don’t forget to give the Governor a Harrumph!

dvldog1142 on May 30, 2008 at 9:14 AM

I remember watching Carol Burnett on Friday nights as a child in the early 80s…always Mr. Korman made me laugh and laugh…great wholesome fun. May God rest you well Sir.

Richard Romano on May 30, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Count de Money

Thanks for laughs, Harvey.

EJDolbow on May 29, 2008 at 9:54 PM

It’s “De Monet” you tetonic tit-willow! ;-)

Liberty or Death on May 30, 2008 at 12:00 PM

Thanks Hedy!

noblejones on May 30, 2008 at 1:05 AM

It’s Hedley!

Liberty or Death on May 30, 2008 at 12:05 PM

I can imagine that Tim Conway will feel this loss more than most. The two of them were a force and their weapon was laughter…I’m looking forward to the special that they will have about him.
Yes, rockmom…I miss Madeline too.

We will miss you Harvey, there’s no one like you in the world of ‘comedy’ to take your place, and that’s the way it should be–you’re one of a kind. May you rest in peace, you’ve earned it.

Christine on May 30, 2008 at 12:40 PM

Old School – back when comedys were actually funnny

EricPWJohnson on May 30, 2008 at 1:47 PM

Please post some (Korman on) Carol Burnett vids!
_
How about the one where Harvey visits Tim Convway the dentist….oh pleeez!!!

MechEng5by5 on May 30, 2008 at 2:16 PM

WE WANT KORMAN AND CONWAY VIDEOS!!!
_
NOW!
_
NOW!
_
NOW!

MechEng5by5 on May 30, 2008 at 2:24 PM

No fruit cup.

Dave Shay on May 30, 2008 at 2:42 PM

Fine if I have to take matters into my own hands!

The Dentist:
http://video.yahoo.com/watch/1452296

MechEng5by5 on May 30, 2008 at 2:46 PM

I grew up laughing at him on Carol Burnett and saw him a couple years ago with Tim Conway. They hadn’t missed a beat. He caused many, many side aches over the years, and I wouldn’t have missed any of them. Thank You.

oakpack on May 30, 2008 at 3:54 PM

God speed Harvey, I will certainly always treasure the laughs from “The Carole Burnett Show” and all of your work.

I loved that they always had a pool going back stage to see how long he could last before Tim made him loose it on camera.

jdsmith0021 on May 30, 2008 at 4:00 PM

“Daddy loves froggy. Froggy love Daddy?” squeek squeek.

heddly_lamar on May 30, 2008 at 4:11 PM