Comedian Rip Taylor Has Died At Age 84

Comedian and actor Rip Taylor, who was known for his flamboyant personality, signature toupee, handlebar mustache and love of confetti, died on Oct. 6. He was 84.

His publicist, Harlan Boll, told CNN that Taylor had been in the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles since having a seizure last week.

The “Crying Comedian” and “King of Confetti,” as he was later nicknamed, was born Charles Elmer Taylor Jr. in Washington D.C. After being a high school congressional page and serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he went into entertainment. Guest comic stints on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in the early 1960s were his first big break.

Over the years, Taylor appeared on or lent his voice to numerous talk shows, game shows, TV shows and movies. He also appeared in Broadway and Las Vegas productions. He’s perhaps best known for his signature confetti gag in his performances where he’d shower the stage and audience with confetti. Taylor was also known for hosting cult favorite “The $1.98 Beauty Show” from 1978-80.

rip taylor photo
Getty Images | Frazer Harrison

Younger viewers might know him from appearances in the “Jackass” movies and “Wayne’s World 2.”

After TMZ broke the news of Taylor’s death on Oct. 6, tributes began appearing on social media.

“Rip Taylor was an icon, a lighthouse, a lodestone,” wrote author Glen Weldon on Twitter. “He was bigger, more fearlessly, defiantly himself, than any other gay man on television in the ‘70s. Hard to convey what he represented to a generation of queer folk. Also: loved puns. And confetti. Rest in Power, Queen.”

Actor Henry Winkler wrote that Taylor was “an original and bursting with funny and energy.”

Actor David Alan Grier also memorialized his fellow comedian on Twitter, saying, “Love you, grew up watching you. Thank you for all the laughter you brought me.”

“Rip was an amazing guy with one of the sharpest minds I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting,” Bill Horvath, the manager of Rip Taylor’s official Facebook page, posted shortly after news of Taylor’s passing.

“Making people laugh was his favorite thing to do, and his fans were his favorite people. He would call me every other day to answer his fan’s emails (he was not computer-literate, but vowed to learn how to ‘work that computer thing’ all the time). You were so important to him, and he was so thankful that you enjoyed his humor and his work.”

Check out one of Taylor’s routines on a 1987 episode of David Letterman’s show.

Condolences to Taylor’s partner, Robert Fortney, and all the friends, family, and fans he has left behind.