Madcap Comedian Rip Taylor Dead At 84

Los Angeles News

BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA) — Comedian Rip Taylor died today in Beverly Hills at the age of 84, his publicist confirmed.

Taylor died at 1:59 p.m., longtime Hollywood publicist Harlan Boll said. No cause of death was given.

If you look up “madcap” in the dictionary, Taylor’s picture most certainly is there. Or should be.

Taylor made a name for himself, and a career, in the 70s and 80s making funny, bizarre, out-of-control appearances on every talk show of the day. He was known as “The King of Confetti” for his penchant of showing the audience with huge bags of the stuff.

Taylor was one of television’s most recognizable and in-demand personalities from the 1960s through the 1980s, thanks to appearances on “The Gong Show,” (where he was a judge panel regular), “The Tonight Show,” “Password,” talk shows with Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas and David Letterman and the coveted center square on “Hollywood Squares.”

And whether or not he actually made it onto “The Love Boat” or not, it sure feels as though he must have. (It doesn’t appear that Taylor appeared on “Love Boat,” at least not mentioned in his credits on


He was known for his wild, handlebar mustache, colorful clothing and high-energy entrances, in which he would emerge onstage flinging confetti and exhorting the audience. If you called him or his comedy corny, he probably would have taken it as the ultimate compliment — truth is he was incredibly glib and clever and could toss off one-liners like a champ. It’s just another reason he was a sought after talk show guest.

When he wasn’t being called The King of Confetti, he was called The King of Camp, and most-often he was called out there and flamboyant. Taylor was also called “The Master of Mayhem” and “The Prince of Pandemonium.” Mock crying was also part of his shtick earning him yet another name — “The Crying Comedian.”

Born Charles Elmer Taylor on Jan. 13, 1935, in Washington, D.C., Taylor served in the armed forces during the Korean War. He began entertaining during his time in the military and pursued it after he left.

Taylor also entertained in Las Vegas for decades (named “Entertainer of the Year” for several years running) , was an accomplished
voice actor, appeared on Broadway, and toured the country in lead roles in
“Sugar Babies,” “Anything Goes,” “Oliver,” “Peter Pan” and “A Funny
Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.”

He never met a charity he didn’t like and he was a mainstay on “The Jerry Lewis Telethon.”

In big screen movies, he stepped into the world of drama in movies like “Indecent Proposal” (Demi Moore’s boss) and as Kate Hudson’s father in “Alex & Emma” directed by Rob Reiner.

He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1992. It’s located at 6626 Hollywood Boulevard, according to City News Service.  And, no doubt, about now it’s covered in confetti.

Or should be.

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