Comedian Rip Taylor died Sunday 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.
"The greatest joy Rip had in life was the result of making others laugh," Boll said. "He didn't have an easy childhood. Abused and bullied, he said he discovered early, that they weren't hitting you if they were laughing."
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, CBS Los Angeles reports. 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 60s through the 80s, 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."
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 January 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.
He is survived by his partner, Robert Fortney.