Campy comedian Rip Taylor dead at 84

The Walt Disney Company

(NEW YORK) — Rip Taylor, the flamboyant comedian known as “The King of Camp and Confetti” and “The Crying Comedian,” died Sunday in Beverly Hills, California, ABC News has confirmed. He was 84.  A cause of death was not revealed. 

Taylor, born Charles Elmer Taylor in Washington, D.C. on January 13, 1935, was one of TV’s most recognizable personalities, with over 2,000 appearances on PasswordThe Merv Griffin ShowThe Mike Douglas ShowThe Tonight ShowLate Night with David LettermanHollywood Squares and Chuck Barris’ The Gong Show, among others.  He was later chosen by Barris to host The $1.98 Beauty Show, a parody of beauty contests whose big prize was a bouquet of rotten vegetables.

His over 50-year career also included appearances in a number of campy films, such as The Gong Show Movie, the Exorcist send-up, Repossessed alongside Linda Blair and Leslie Nielen and The Silence of the Hams.

Taylor was also a Las Vegas mainstay, where he shared the stage with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Debbie Reynolds, Ann-Margret and Judy Garland, and spent decades as a top headliner himself.  He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Live Theatre.

He also donated a large part of his time to AIDS causes, and various other charities.

In a 2016 interview with Anderson Valley Advertiser, Taylor said he would like to be remembered as “Someone who is funny and kept people happy.” 

Taylor is survived by longtime partner, Robert Fortney.

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