Harry Anderson, best known for playing unorthodox, baby-faced Judge Harry Stone on the NBC comedy Night Court, has died at age 65.
Anderson was found dead in his Asheville, N.C., home by police at 6:41 a.m. local time Monday, according to Christina Hallingse, public information officer for the Asheville Police Department.
Foul play wasn’t suspected, she said. No further details were available.
Anderson started his showbiz career doing street magic and stand-up comedy in Los Angeles clubs in the early 1980s. He landed a recurring role on the comedy Cheers as con-man Harry “The Hat” Gittes in 1982, who continued to swindle bar patrons periodically through 1993.
On Night Court, which ran on NBC from 1984 to 1992, he starred as the young, magic-trick performing judge presiding over the anything-goes atmosphere of New York Municipal Court’s night shift.
During the run of the popular show, Anderson was nominated for three Emmy Awards, while the show was nominated for 31 Emmys, winning seven.
Anderson made eight appearances on Saturday Night Live.
The actor also starred as humorist Dave Barry on CBS’ Dave’s World from 1993 to 1997.
After ending Dave’s World, Anderson moved to New Orleans, where he opened Oswald’s Speakeasy in the French Quarter and created the one-man show Wise Guy.
“I owned the club and I would do the show every night,” he told the Asheville Citizen-Times in 2011. ” We were open for six weeks before (Hurricane) Katrina hit” in 2005.
The building survived, but Anderson relocated to Asheville. He spent time building magic tricks in the workshop behind his home, downloading old-time radio shows and performing about two dozen times a year, including at the Abbeville (S.C.) Opera House.
He said he didn’t miss the TV scene. “Eventually, you have to get off the carousel and let someone else have a chance.”
Anderson is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Morgan, and two children from his first marriage to Leslie Pollack.
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