Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Passing of Louis Nye

by Mark Burbey

Celebrities die all the time, just like regular people. We hear about the death of an actor or actress or a musician or a writer or a politician and we either feel bad, don’t care, or experience déjà vu, thinking they’d died a long time ago. But someone died on October 10, 2005 and I genuinely felt sad upon hearing the news. Comedian Louis Nye died in his home from lung cancer, survived by a wife and son. The man was 92 years old, but he seemed more like 62. The reason I felt sad was because I grew up watching Louis Nye. As a kid of the ‘60s, I had the opportunity to watch The Steve Allen Show. The Beverly Hillbillies, The Munsters, and The Jackie Gleason Show, all of which were better whenever Louis Nye was in the cast. Most recently, he portrayed the father of Larry David’s agent, Jeff Green, on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and it was a revelation to see him on television again after so many years.

It’s difficult to describe the humor of Louis Nye. He had a gift for playing prissy characters and those that Courant.com described as the “effete country-club snob Gordon Hathaway on The Steve Allen Show.” So much of his humor came from his delivery and his personality, and he was one of those comics who could pretty much make humor out of nothing.

Mark Evanier wrote a fine piece about Nye on his website, which I recommend reading. It talks of Louis Nye as not only a great comic actor, but as an admirable human being.

It’s sad that he’s gone, but his legacy is long and hilarious.

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