New York – Long-haired smash-up comedian Gallagher, who left a trail of laughter, anger and shattered watermelons in a career spanning decades, has died at the age of 76.
Craig Marquard, in a statement identifying himself as Gallagher’s “longtime former manager,” said he died Friday at his home in Palm Springs, Calif., after a brief illness. Gallagher has had multiple heart attacks over the years, including once right before a scheduled show in Texas in 2012.
Wearing a beret on his head and a few simple props from oil cans to cow whips, the Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr.-born man built a national following in the 1970s and ’80s. , appeared on the “Tonight” show with Johnny. He appeared in numerous Showtime specials with Carson. His deeds include observational humor (“What about Easter? Whose idea is giving eggs to jumping animals?”), political commentary (“They don’t call taxes taxes. They call it an income booster”). Sports (synchronized his ping-pong) and his trademark destruction with his Sledge-O-Matic.
“Ladies and gentlemen! I’m not here tonight just to make you laugh. I’m here to sell you something, and I want you to pay special attention! ’” he would exclaim in his best rapid-fire impersonation of a late-night TV pitchman. -Who did Knight Industries entrust? To me! To show you! The most convenient and stylish kitchen tools you’ve ever seen.
With a sledgehammer in hand, he lashed out at apples, grapes, lettuce, and other produce, most famously the inescapable watermelon, and showered his audience with morsels of food.
A native of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Gallagher began working as road manager for comedian/musician Jim Stafford in 1960 and soon began honing his acting skills at comedy stores and other clubs. His younger brother Ron became a comedian, received Leo’s first blessing, and looked and acted like his more famous brother, so some audience members had no idea who they were coming to see. Leo Gallagher eventually secured a court injunction barring his brother from using his routine.
The Gallagher elder has become increasingly controversial in recent years, having been accused of racist and homophobic remarks. , even cut short an interview with Marc Maron.
“I’m the problem!?!” Gallagher said at one point. Was I really holding them back?
In 2003, Gallagher was among more than 100 candidates running for governor of California in a recall election won by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Over the past decade, Gallagher has appeared in her Geico commercials and the movie The Book Of Daniel.
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https://www.local10.com/entertainment/2022/11/11/gallagher-watermelon-smashing-comedian-dies-at-76/ Gallagher, watermelon-splitting comedian dies at 76