Rip Taylor, the madcap mustached comedian with a fondness for confetti-throwing who became a television game-show mainstay in the 1970s, died Oct. 6 in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 88.

Publicist Harlan Boll confirmed the death but did not provide a cause.

The man who would become known worldwide as Rip did not have a direct line into show business. He was born Charles Elmer Taylor Jr. in Washington on Jan. 13, 1931, although he often listed his birth year as 1935.

Mr. Taylor worked as a congressional page before serving in the Army during the Korean War, where he started performing stand-up.

His ascent began with spots on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” where he was known as the “crying comedian.” The moniker predated his television stints, however, and went back to his time in the Catskills.


“I sat on a stool telling jokes, and nobody was laughing,” he told United Press International in 1992. “In desperation, I pretended to cry as I begged them to laugh. That killed ’em.”


It’s where he said the character “Rip” came from.

Although he readily admitted stealing jokes from USO shows, the crying comedian bit got him to Sullivan, where the host — forgetting Taylor’s name — would say “get me the crying comedian.”

Mr. Taylor ended up on tour with Judy Garland and Eleanor Powell in Las Vegas in 1966.

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In his more than five decades in entertainment, Mr. Taylor would make over 2,000 guest-star appearances on shows including “The Monkees,” “The Merv Griffin Show,” “The Tonight Show,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “Hollywood Squares” and “The Gong Show.” He also hosted the beauty pageant spoof “The $1.98 Beauty Show.”


With his bushy blond toupee, exaggerated eyebrows and walrus-like mustache, Mr. Taylor was a striking presence. He was apparently so proud of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that he would regularly schedule trips to buff and clean the square at 6625 Hollywood Blvd.


Mr. Taylor also did a fair share of voice work for animated films and TV shows, such as “The Jetsons” and “The Addams Family,” which gained him an Emmy nomination for the voice of Uncle Fester.

In movies, he played himself in “Wayne’s World 2” and the “Jackass” franchise.

He appeared onstage in “Anything Goes,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and “Sugar Babies,” where he took over for Mickey Rooney. He also appeared as Fagin in “Oliver!” and Captain Hook in “Peter Pan.” Mr. Taylor also wrote and performed an autobiographical one-man play called “It Ain’t All Confetti.”


Survivors include his longtime partner, Robert Fortney.

Correction: An earlier version of this obituary incorrectly reported Mr. Taylor was 84 or 85, depending on sources. He was 88, according to publicist Harlan Boll. The story has been updated.

— Associated Press