Thursday, April 18, 2024

RIP Tommy Smothers, 86, One Half of the Subversive Banjo Playing Brothers Comedy Duo, Had Mid 80s Renaissance


Sorry to report the death of Tommy Smothers, age 86. The report says he died from a recent bout with cancer.

Tommy and Dickie Smothers will always be the subversive, banjo playing comedy duo who burst onto the scene in the 60s. Their CBS variety show in the later 60s launched the careers of people like Glen Campbell, Steve Martin, and musician Mason Williams. It also instigated the career of dry- witted comedian Pat Paulsen, who ran for president in 1968 and many times after.

But the CBS show was also vehemently anti war as the Vietnam War became the hottest topic in the world. Even with tremendous ratings, CBS cancelled it, causing an uproar that went on for a long time. Ironically the show returned in 1988 for two seasons and was a big success.

Here are some clips. The Times has a fuller obit. Condolences.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News