Passage: Professor Irwin Corey

The disheveled comic was renowned as the "world's foremost authority" (according to himself).

CBS News

It happened this past week -- the loss of one of America's most unique comedic talents.

"Professor" Irwin Corey died Monday at his home in New York City.

Born in Brooklyn in 1914, Corey was raised in an orphan asylum until he was 13, when he set out on his own. 

He drifted into theater and standup comedy, and would spend the next 70 years perfecting the persona of the befuddled professor, billed -- with mock seriousness -- as "the world's foremost authority."   

On what, no one was ever quite sure ...

Dressed in his signature string tie, swallow-tail coat and sneakers -- his hair looking as if combed with a blender -- the "Professor" would expound at length on any question, sometimes even before the question was asked:

Irwin Corey: "They move to Peoria where there's no trains, no buses ..."
David Letterman: "Excuse me ..."
Corey: "I'm sorry, what was the question?"
Letterman: "There hasn't been a question yet."
Corey: "That's why people are ill-informed.  You've got to ask questions!"

Professor Irwin Corey was 102.

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