Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I will name my firstborn Harvey Korman
I'm not sure if anybody else grew up watching The Carol Burnett Show, but I did and Harvey Korman was always my favorite. Something subtle about him cracks me up. I used to tell my dad that they could broadcast him blinking and I'd still roll off the couch laughing.
He was born Harvey Herschel Korman in Chicago, February 15 of 1927.
He was married twice and had four kids.
He died just recently on May 29, 2008 - which totally f*cking sucks because I almost went to see him and Tim Conway at the Wang Center last year and I said "Oh no, I'll catch them the next time" ...I'm an idiot.
Harvey had several bit parts and guest roles on television shows in the early 60s- for anyone who used to watch The Flinstones he was the voice of the Great Gazoo. He got his first big break on the Danny Kaye show in 1964. When that was cancelled in 1967 he hopped on board the Carol Burnett show in it's first season and the show was a enormous success. He left the show in 1977 but never found similar success on television again. Korman once said, "It takes a certain type of person to be a television star, I didn't have whatever that is. I came across as kind of snobbish and maybe a little too bright. ...Give me something bizarre to play or put me in a dress and I'm fine."
Apparently Mel Brooks' wife Anne Bancroft singled out Korman on the Burnett show and Brooks "knew he was a natural". Brooks cast him in Blazing Saddles and then History of the World and High Anxiety (which is a Brooks movie that I never hear anyone talk about but it's totally hilarious and Korman and Cloris Leachman almost steal the show)
Later in his career Korman did quite a lot of voicework for cartoons like Hey Arnold! and The Wild Thornberrys. He also worked on several films including Brook's Dracula spoof Dracula: Dead and Loving it! and he was the voice of the dictabird in 1994's live action Flinstones movie. (which on a personal note- I saw in the theater during a thunderstorm, the lights went out and my sister nearly peed her pants)
There's an extended bio here written by someone who seems to share my fanatical adoration of Korman- it's got cool little tidbits and summaries. And because his death is so recent there are about a million obituary-type articles floating around the web.
Harvey Korman truly is hysterically funny, He was a great physical comedian and his comic timing is impeccable. If you've never seen him on the Burnett show, and you like sketch comedy, check some out on youtube.
And because this is a film class blog- most definitely check out something like High Anxiety.