We have lost another great, great performer.
LOS ANGELES — Harvey Korman, the tall, versatile comedian who won four Emmys for his outrageously funny contributions to “The Carol Burnett Show” and was seen to hilarious effect on the big screen 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 in a statement released by the hospital.
His daughter, Kate Korman, said in the statement that it was a “miracle” that her father had survived the aneurysm at all, and that he had several major operations.
“Tragically, after such a hard fought battle he passed away,” she said.
As noted, Korman was beyond brilliant on “The Carol Burnett Show” and as Headley Lamarr in “Blazing Saddles”. I honestly can’t think of anyone right now who can come close to rivaling his versatility, his comedic timing, and the vital skill of being able to play off the people with him in the scene to make a funny skit even funnier. There are some good comedians working right now, but none anywhere close to the plan on which Korman worked almost all the time.
I know others are going to be more eloquent about his life and influence on today’s comedians. Let me just say that he almost always made me laugh. Except just one time.
Below the jump, that one role.
Yes, folks, that is Harvey Korman, as a female four-armed chef in the Star Wars Holiday Special. Thankfully, he didn’t let the role humiliate him out of the business. It would have given me serious reason to doubt my judgment. I’m glad he stuck with it. I’m glad he kept on making us all laugh.
As a palate-cleanser, let’s remember Korman this way, with Tim Conway on “The Carol Burnett Show”, as a concert pianist.