It is with tremendous sadness that I report there is a void in the comedy on this earth.
Harvey Korman died today (Thursday 5/29) of complications from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm suffered four months ago.
While comedy is subjective, I will make the bold proclamation that if Harvey Korman didn't make you laugh at least once, you have no sense of humor to speak of. This man was positively nuts -- in the best way possible. He took home four Emmy Awards for his work on The Carol Burnett Show. In reunion shows he, co-second banana Tim Conway, and Carol Burnett all admitted that Korman and Conway lived to crack each other up. (If you've ever seen outtakes of the show, you have witnessed how successful they were at making their co-stars laugh.)
What may arguably be Korman's legacy, however, is the role of Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles. Constantly referred to as "Hedy" to his chagrin (and apparently the real Hedy Lamarr, who sued Mel Brooks over the use of her name -- not that Brooks cared, as is referenced in the film's scene where Governor LePetomane tells Korman's character, "Hey, it's eighteen something, you can sue her!"), Korman played the evil, lusty (remember him fondling the statue of Lady Justice?) attorney general to perfection. In a movie of parodies one of the best was Lamarr telling the gang of thugs he assembled to raid Rock Ridge, "You will be risking your lives, while I will be risking an almost-certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor!"
Harvey Korman in
SurfSide 6, 1961
Korman appeared as an actor in numerous television shows and films. It is his comedic skills on The Carol Burnett Show and in the works with Mel Brooks ("It was comedy heaven to make Harvey Korman laugh," a distraught Mel Brooks told the Associated Press) that will live on forever.
Farewell to the remarkably talented Harvey Korman, who passed away at age 81.