Rip Taylor Dies; Beloved Comedian Was 84

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Rip Taylor, one of the more flamboyant, colorful and memorable comedians of his generation, died in Beverly Hills on Sunday.

He was 84 years old.

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Taylor's publicist, Harlan Boll, confirmed this sad piece of news last night, although no cause of death has been confirmed to the public.

Early in his career, Taylor realized that the more he exaggerated the gag... the bigger the laugh he drew, thereby overemphasizing everything -- from his shaggy blonde toupee and bushy mustache to the zany props that were the basis of his bits.

The star's jokes were delivered with shrieking gusto at nearly all times.

He started his career as a stand-up comic in nightclubs and later made his breakthrough with appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show.

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Dubbed the "King of Camp and Confetti" and "The Crying Comedian," Taylor also rose to popularity due to appearances on "The Merv Griffin Show" and lots of other variety talk shows as a comic in the 1960s.

He was famous for dousing his audience with buckets of colored paper, as anyone attending a Rip Taylor performance had to expect to be wearing confetti by the end of the show.

Explained Taylor in 2011:

"I did props and I was 'The Prop Comedian.' I was dying like hell on Merv Griffin's show. The jokes were dumb, and I tore the 5 by 8 cards, threw them up in the air and it became confetti.

"I knocked over his desk, walked up the aisle, went to Sardi's and said, 'Well, that's the end of my television career.' I went home that night. Their switchboard had lit up.

"They said, 'Get the guy that went crazy!' And that is how the confetti started."

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Taylor also "the $1.98 Beauty Show," which featured guests compete for the title of the "1.98 Beauty Queen" in a pageant, talent-show format.

Aside from these talk show gigs, Taylor ended up in numerous movies and television shows.

One of his more memorable big-screen appearances came when he played himself in Wayne's World 2.

At one point, a quest by Wayne to put on WayneStock, the ultimate music festival, garnered stature when Taylor agreed to attend as a special guest.

"Rip Taylor's going to be there," Mike Myers' main character told Cassandra Wong in this scene, trying to convince her to perform.

"Rip Taylor? He's a god in my country," she replies. "He gets mobbed in the street."

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Taylor also played parts in The Dukes of Hazzard and all three Jackass movies.

On TV, you may remember Rip from such programs as "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters," "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour," "Santa Barbara" and other smaller roles along the way.

He was the subject of a 2016 documentary, Rip Rip Hooray and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1992.

Taylor was briefly married to showgirl Rusty Rowe, but got divorced soon after. He is survived by his longtime partner, Robert Fortney.

May Rip Taylor rest in peace.

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