Sources confirm that Conway tied early Tuesday morning; he had been suffering from dementia late in life and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, has been unable to speak following a brain surgery last year.
Conway has a career that can be defined within multiple eras of laughter; for many, he will be best remembered as Ensign Parker on McHale’s Nacy and also his work on The Carol Burnett Show. In more recent years, he was known for working alongside his former co-star Ernest Borgnine (also sadly no longer with us) on SpongeBob SquarePants, where the two played legendary “superheroes” Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. They comedic timing and their rapport was one of the reasons for their popularity across generations, and for us, we’ll particular remember him for his spot on 30 Rock as well. Two of his more recent credits came as a part of Melissa & Joey and Glee, two other shows that had laughter as one of their primary goals.
Conway was one of those performers who could make you laugh with just a word; he was committed to his craft and would be incredible off-the-cuff and in the moment. He’s someone who perhaps doesn’t get enough respect for his talent in 2019, but we have a feeling that many within the comedy community will be pouring out their hearts to him today.
If you want to remember some of Conway at his absolute finest, we suggest that you watch the video below via The Carol Burnett Show — it will serve as an incredible reminder of some of what the actor does best in terms of ad-libbing and reacting in the moment to the people around him. He fed off of laughter; he lived for it on the stage. There’s just pure joy watching him and that’s the joy we’ll choose to remember him by as a performer. Few could do what he did, and we have a feeling that few will ever get the same attention and respect across generations. We do think that his work was inspirational for what would eventually become Saturday Night Live, or even some other alternative comedy shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway, MAD TV, or even All That for a younger generation on Nickelodeon.
Through his body of work, Conway will absolutely not be forgotten. Our thoughts go out to all of his friends and loved ones during what has to be a difficult time. (Photo: NBC.)