By Stephanie Nolasco
Published May 14, 2019
Tim Conway, the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor who embodied a gang of hilarious characters on “The Carol Burnett Show,” including the Oldest Man and Mr. Tudball, has died at age 85.
Conway died Tuesday morning after a long illness in Los Angeles, according to his rep Howard Bragman. His daughter, Kelly, told Fox News on Tuesday her father is "at peace now."
"The love he gave us, and the laughter he gave the world will never be replaced, but will be remembered forever," Kelly told us. "He is at peace now but I will miss him every second of every day until we meet again in heaven.
"We knew he would have to leave us someday, but that day came too soon. When he used to hear the song 'Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground' he would say, 'I want that played at my funeral.'"
Conway's longtime friend and fellow star Carol Burnett told Fox News, "I'm heartbroken. He was one in a million, not only as a brilliant comedian but as a loving human being. I cherish the times we had together both on the screen and off. He’ll be in my heart forever."
Conway's second wife, Charlene Conway, and his daughter Kelly, from a previous marriage, had long battled over his health care. In April of this year, they settled their differences when, according to court documents obtained by People magazine, Charlene was appointed a conservator of her husband after the court found “clear and convincing evidence” that a conservatorship was necessary. Charlene was found to be “suitable and qualified” by the court and his daughter Kelly consented to her appointment.
The filing also stated that Conway was “unable to make his own health care decisions.”
Kelly and her stepmother each wanted sole conservatorship over the actor. It was reported the star was suffering from dementia.
In August 2018, Kelly filed court documents, asking to be appointed the conservator of her father. She alleged her stepmother was “planning to move [Conway] out of the excellent skilled nursing facility he is currently at” and place him in a lesser quality home. At the time, Kelly said her father could not “properly provide for his personal needs for physical health, food and clothing” and was “almost entirely unresponsive.”
People shared that a week later, Kelly was granted a temporary restraining order, preventing Charlene from moving Conway to a new residence.
In September 2018, MyNewsLA reported a judge rejected Kelly’s petition for a temporary conservatorship. In October of that same year, Charlene said in court papers that she did not believe Conway needed a conservator, but that she should be appointed if needed.
USA Today also reported Charlene denied she had planned to move Conway. She asked the court to reject Kelly’s conservatorship request, arguing she is already seeing to her husband’s needs. Charlene noted Conway signed power of attorney and health care directives designating her as his caregiver.
Conway, who was born in Willoughby, Ohio on December 15, 1933, embarked on a fast rise to Hollywood, from a staff job at a Cleveland TV station to a regular gig on the “Steve Allen Show.” He went on to play Ensign Charles Parker on McHale’s Navy in the 1960s and eventually landed "The Carol Burnett Show," first starring as a guest in 1967 and then coming to a permanent fixture in 1975.
Conway is best known for his role on “The Carol Burnett Show,” an 11-year stint that garnered him six Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, major accolades from critics, and three generations of fans. Conway played alongside Harvey Korman, often causing Korman to laugh mid-performance.
Conway’s other television credits include “Rango,” “Ace Crawford Private Eye,” “Tim Conway’s Funny America,” three self-titled variety shows, and one sitcom. He’s also recognized as the voice of Barnacle Boy on “SpongeBob SquarePants.” In 2003, Conway and Korman were featured performers on CBS’s 75th-anniversary special. He received an Emmy for his appearance on “30 Rock” in 2008.
Conway’s film career includes “They Went That Way and That Way” and "The Long Shot," both of which he wrote, along with "The Shaggy D.A.," "Speed II," and "Dear God." But it was his work in a long line of family films – "The World’s Greatest Athlete," "The Apple Dumpling Gang," and "The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again" that garnered him the most acclaim. Conway was also frequently paired with Don Knotts for a double dose of comedy high jinks.
On stage, Conway played Felix in 182 performances of “The Odd Couple.” He also wrote and starred in “Just for Laughs: A Day with Gates and Mills,” which toured for 20 weeks and 130 performances.
In 1989, Conway received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. In 2002 he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Science’s Hall of Fame. In 2005, Conway joined the rest of the “Carol Burnett” cast to receive TV Land’s Legend award.
His last credited role was that of Dorf, a diminutive Scandinavian from a series of satirical how-to videos, in the 2016 comedy “Chip and Bernie Save Christmas with Dorf.”
“My ambition was to be a jockey, but at my weight, even the horses were asking me to get off,” Conway joked on his website. “I have seven children, two grandchildren and a puppy. I have been married since 1984, a record for Hollywood.”
Conway shares seven children with his first wife Mary Anne Dalton. The couple was married from 1961 until 1978. He married Charlene in 1984.