Watermelon-smashing comedian Gallagher is dead at 76.
Comedian Gallagher, famous for smashing watermelons onstage with a hammer, passed away Friday morning at age 76. The prop comic’s longtime manager confirmed his passing in a statement to TMZ.
According to the report, the comedian died of massive organ failure while at a hospice in Palm Springs, California. Gallagher had reportedly been sick for quite some time, having suffered multiple heart attacks over the years, starting in 2011, when he collapsed onstage in Minnesota. He also suffered a cardiac episode the following year, right before he was supposed to perform in Texas.
Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr. was born on July 24, 1946 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He also lived in Ohio and Florida before enrolling at the University of South Florida, where he earned a degree in chemical engineering — and then, apparently, never looked back.
The funnyman broke into the mainstream after a stint on the Johnny Carson show in 1975, followed by a string of comedy specials for the Showtime network. He quickly became one of the most recognizable comics in the US.
COMEDIAN Leo Anthony Gallagher, widely known as Gallagher, has died, according to his manager.
Gallagher passed away early on Friday morning in the Palm Springs region while receiving hospice care, TMZ reported.
The outlet reported that the comedian suffered severe organ failure and had been ill for some time, having had several heart attacks over the years.
Gallager was well-known for his observational and prop comedy catchphrases, as well as for smashing watermelons as part of his act.
He has 13 one-hour comedy specials for Showtime and several well-liked HBO specials.