The world is now a lot less funny, as legendary entertainer Rip Taylor has passed away. Boasting such nicknames as the "King of Confetti" and "The Crying Comedian," Taylor was widely known for his unique appearance and comedic delivery, making him a popular name in the nightclub scene. Taylor had also made a wide variety of television appearances across many decades as well. His over-the-top personality, trademark mustache, and habit of dousing others with confetti made him instantly memorable for anyone who's ever seen him. Sadly, Taylor died after suffering from a seizure last week which landed him in the ICU. He was 84 years old.
After a particularly rough childhood, Taylor worked as a congressional page before enlisting in the United States Army and serving in the Korean War. This led to the start of his career in comedy, as Taylor began performing stand-up in restaurants and clubs while stationed abroad. As a part of his act, Taylor had developed a routine where he pretended to cry while begging the audience for laughs. Word of the act spread and led to Taylor booking a gig on The Ed Sullivan Show; he would return to the program nearly 20 times. During this time, Taylor had also been regularly appearing on The Jackie Gleason Show as well, again using his "Crying Comedian" gimmick. He would also appear on The Monkees TV series and lend his voice to Uncle Fester in an Addams Family animated series.
With his exuberant personality making him a hit with viewers, Taylor began appearing as himself on a variety of game shows in the 1970's. This includes frequent appearances on programs like The Hollywood Squares, To Tell the Truth, The Gong Show, and The Match Game. Of course, Taylor continued his work as an actor as well, playing the sea-genie Sheldon on Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and neighbor Jack Merrill on The Brady Bunch Hour. More recently, he had become a staple of the Jackass franchise as well. In the end of Jackass: The Movie, Taylor appears with a pistol which expels a sign reading, "The End" when fired. It became a bit of a trademark for the movie series, as Taylor would do the same for the sequels Jackass Number Two and Jackass 3D.
Apart from his work on television and in movies, Taylor also enjoyed performing in live theater as well. In 1966, he went on a Las Vegas tour with Judy Garland and Eleanor Powell, and by 1981, he was starring on Broadway in the burlesque musical comedy Sugar Babies. Additionally, Taylor had co-starred frequently with Debbie Reynolds in a variety of her live shows. Eventually, Taylor would perform his one-man live show called It Ain't All Confetti in 2010, regaling the crowd with stories about his life and career. Whether it was in film, TV, or live on stage, Taylor very much entertained every single time.
Taylor is survived by his longtime partner, Robert Fortney. Our thoughts are with Robert and Taylor's close friends at this time. Taylor might be gone, but that man has undoubtedly made an incredible impression this world, and there's absolutely no way he'll soon be forgotten. May he rest in peace. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.