Rip Taylor, the flamboyant comedian known as "The King of Camp and Confetti" and "The Crying Comedian," died Sunday in Beverly Hills, California, ABC News has confirmed. He was 84.
A cause of death was not revealed.
Taylor, born Charles Elmer Taylor in Washington, D.C. on January 13, 1935, was one of TV's most recognizable personalities, with over 2,000 appearances on Password, The Merv Griffin Show, The Mike Douglas Show, The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Hollywood Squares and Chuck Barris' The Gong Show, among others. He was later chosen by Barris to host The $1.98 Beauty Show, a parody of beauty contests whose big prize was a bouquet of rotten vegetables.
His over 50-year career also included appearances in a number of campy films, such as "The Gong Show Movie," the "Exorcist" send-up, "Repossessed" alongside Linda Blair and Leslie Nielen and "The Silence of the Hams."
Taylor was also a Las Vegas mainstay, where he shared the stage with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Debbie Reynolds, Ann-Margret and Judy Garland, and spent decades as a top headliner himself. He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Live Theatre.
He also donated a large part of his time to AIDS causes, and various other charities.
In a 2016 interview with Anderson Valley Advertiser, Taylor said he would like to be remembered as "Someone who is funny and kept people happy."
Taylor is survived by longtime partner, Robert Fortney.
After news broke of the loss, fellow comedians took to Twitter to share their memories of the legend.
Billy Eichner wrote, "RIP, Rip. I can’t imagine how much bulls---- you had to deal with in an industry that decided it was finally cool to be a gay man in comedy, like, a year ago. Nevertheless you ignored all that and delighted people for decades. RIP."
"Rest n Peace Mr. Taylor. Loved you, grew up watching you. Thank you for all the laughter you brought me," David Alan Grier wrote.
Rest n Peace Mr. Taylor. Loved you, grew up watching you. Thank you for all the laughter you brought me. 🙏🏾 Rip Taylor Dead: Flamboyant Comic, Host of 'The $1.98 Beauty Show' Was 84 https://t.co/x99u23lBid— David Alan Grier (@davidalangrier) October 6, 2019
Jonathan Penner added, "RIP #RipTaylor. I had lunch with him once & the SOB made me laugh so hard I was literally crying. I begged him to stop but he just kept going tillI almost puked. 1 of the greatest meals of my life! (He actually looked like Trump; bald, fake orange hair & nutty as a fruitcake!"
RIP #RipTaylor. I had lunch with him once & the SOB made me laugh so hard I was literally crying. I begged him to stop but he just kept going tillI almost puked. 1 of the greatest meals of my life! (He actually looked like Trump; bald, fake orange hair & nutty as a fruitcake!— Jonathan Penner (@SurvivorPenner) October 7, 2019
Here are some other poignant reactions to the loss.
If you can find Viva Variety’s “Las Vegas on 14 cents a day” Rip Taylor and @michaelianblack we’re in their prime.— Thomas Lennon (@thomaslennon) October 7, 2019
A wonderful, funny , complex and brilliant actor / comedian. Privileged to have known him and to have worked w him . RIP Rip Taylor . 💔🌹💔🌹💔🌹💔🌹💔 https://t.co/2liSvFQ109— Charlie Adler (@charlie_adler) October 6, 2019
Certainly an icon who will be sorely missed.