Comedian Rip Taylor passed away on Sunday at the age of 84, his publicist Harlan Boll announced, per The Hollywood Reporter. Taylor was admitted to the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles three days ago after suffering a seizure.
Taylor became known as the “King of Confetti,” which he used to punctuate his punchlines. It was a gag that he would later admit he accidentally discovered during an appearance on The Merv Griffin Show.
“I did props and I was 'The Prop Comedian.' I was dying like hell on Merv Griffin's show. The jokes were dumb, and I tore the 5 by 8 cards, threw them up in the air and it became confetti," he recalled in a 2001 interview for the blog Classic Television Showbiz.
Taylor initially thought his minor meltdown would be the end of his comedy career, but it turned out to open a gateway to a shtick that would last him a lifetime. “I knocked over his desk, walked up the aisle, went to Sardi's and said, 'Well, that's the end of my television career,’” he adds. “I went home that night. Their switchboard had lit up. They said, 'Get the guy that went crazy!' And that is how the confetti started."
Those unfamiliar with his stage work may remember seeing Taylor reprise his famed confetti bit in the first three Jackass films. He also appeared in the films Wayne’s World 2, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and 2005’s The Dukes of Hazzard, as well as TV shows, like Will & Grace, and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. He was a constant presence on celebrity game shows, like Hollywood Squares, The Gong Show, and To Tell the Truth.