'Carol Burnett' Star Harvey Korman Dies at 81
Actor Harvey Korman, star of 'The Carol Burnett Show' dies at 81, four months after aneurysm
Harvey Korman, the tall, versatile comedian who won four Emmys for his outrageously funny contributions to "The Carol Burnett Show" and played a conniving politician to hilarious effect in "Blazing Saddles," died Thursday. He was 81.
Korman died at UCLA Medical Center after suffering complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm four months ago, his family said. He had undergone several major operations.
"He was a brilliant comedian and a brilliant father," daughter Kate Korman said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "He had a very good sense of humor in real life. "
A natural second banana, Korman gained attention on "The Danny Kaye Show," appearing in skits with the star. He joined the show in its second season in 1964 and continued until it was canceled in 1967. That same year he became a cast member in the first season of "The Carol Burnett Show."
Burnett and Korman developed into the perfect pair with their burlesques of classic movies such as "Gone With the Wind" and soap operas like "As the World Turns" (their version was called "As the Stomach Turns").
Another recurring skit featured them as "Ed and Eunice," a staid married couple who were constantly at odds with the wife's mother (a young Vickie Lawrence in a gray wig). In "Old Folks at Home," they were a combative married couple bedeviled by Lawrence as Burnett's troublesome young sister.
Korman revealed the secret to the long-running show's success in a 2005 interview: "We were an ensemble, and Carol had the most incredible attitude. I've never worked with a star of that magnitude who was willing to give so much away."
Burnett was devastated by Korman's death, said her assistant, Angie Horejsi.
"She loved Harvey very much," Horejsi said.
After 10 successful seasons, Korman left Burnett's show in 1977 for his own series. Dick Van Dyke took his place, but the chemistry was lacking and the Burnett show was canceled two years later. "The Harvey Korman Show" also failed, as did other series starring the actor.