Sunday, 1 June 2008
Harvey Korman of 'Burnett Show' Dies at 81 [NYT]
Harvey Korman, the award-winning comedic actor who rose to fame playing second banana to Carol Burnett on her television variety series and who starred in hit movies like "Blazing Saddles" and "High Anxiety," died on Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 81.
A tall man known for his outlandish characterizations, Mr. Korman was nominated for seven Emmys for his television work and won four. He also was nominated for four Golden Globe awards, winning one.
I did not know this:
Mr. Korman reunited with a Burnett alumnus, Tim Conway, and toured the country to give live performances, reprising skits from the old shows as well as creating new material. "They had a private jet and went all over," Katherine Korman said.
Comedian Harvey Korman, Laughing Until We Cried [WPost]
Described as the quintessential second banana, Korman became the embodiment of a classic comedy role: The scheming, mustachioed Talleyrand, unctuously seeming to serve his superior -- usually played by Brooks -- but ever plotting for his own gain, only to be hilariously undone by his vanity and unfortunate choice of names.
...Korman's most memorable work on "Carol Burnett" came from mistakes.
He seemed incapable of sharing a scene with Conway without cracking up. ... if he and Korman made eye contact, Korman was down for the count. The shorter Conway would gaze up at Korman, fixing him with a blank stare, as Korman tried in vain to get off his line, his face contorted in comic agony, his rigid body rippling with unsuppressible snickering. By then, the audience at home was in tears.
Understand this: It is a generous act by a comic actor to let the audience see him break character. That means he is comfortable enough in his skin to let the other actor have his moment. And Korman knew that sometimes the best way to get someone else to laugh is simply to let them see you doing it.
Similarly,it's always a kick to see Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert break each other up.
I was trying to think of who would fill a Harvey-Korman-like role these days, and couldn't come up with anyone.
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