Happy Birthday to Tim Conway!
If there’s a list of the funniest actors to ever grace the small screen that doesn’t include Bob Newhart, Don Knotts, Robin Williams then it’s not a list I want to read. More than that, the list should include Tim Conway at the top, with a career spanning seven decades, beginning with “The Steve Allen Plymouth Show” from the 1950s. Tim Conway is celebrating his 83rd birthday today and is still bringing more laughter every year.
Conway is known for his sketch comedy characters on “The Carol Burnett Show” and his Ensign Charles Parker role on “McHale’s Navy,” but my first memory of Conway came from the theater with my family seeing Conway and Don Knotts together in the Walt Disney movie, “The Apple Dumpling Gang.” I believe it was a drive-in theater, although most movies we saw back then, were certainly seen from our family station wagon.
Conway’s ability to make people laugh, including co-stars Harvey Korman, Carol Burnett & Vicki Lawrence, is timeless. The dry wit, slow delivery and control of the dialogue is unparalleled. On screen and off, he’s still a master of humor. Just follow him on Twitter, if you don’t already.
A military veteran, Conway served in the U.S. Army and began his work in radio, quickly moved into television, where he began performing sketch comedy between CBS morning movies. Rose Marie found out about Conway and soon, he was working with Steve Allen, until he moved into “McHale’s Navy,” alongside Ernest Borgnine, Joe Flynn, Bob Hastings, Carl Ballantine, Gary Vinson, Billy Sands, Yoshio Yoda, Bobby Wright and Gavin Macleod.
Conway’s character creation went one of the first to hit the VCR market, too. His “Dorf on Golf” sketches, which we saw on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” were a hit. Seeing Carson laugh uncontrollably was a treat.
In recent years, Conway has guest starred on shows like “Hot in Cleveland,” “Mike & Molly,” “30 Rock,” Glee” and “Melissa & Joey” with Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence. He’s done voice work for “Spongebob Squarepants,” “Pound Puppies” and “Dragons.” He even did the voice of The Weeper in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” and if you’ve watched “Scooby-Doo” or played a “Scooby-Doo” video game, you’ve probably heard his voice, too, since he even does voice-over work for video games.
As a matter of fact, he’s worked more in the past 10 years than most actors have in their entire career. It’s not often someone can say they’ve worked on Spongebob and CSI.
He’s worked with every —and I mean every— comedy legend at one point, or another in the past 70 years. From Dick Van Dyke to Barbara Eden, Chevy Chase to Red Skelton, Bob Newhart to Garry Shandling, he’s sat across from “Tonight Show” hosts dating back to Steve Allen.
Conway has won a Golden Globe, 5 Primetime Emmys, a TV Land Award and a Star on the Walk of Fame. He even has upcoming projects in development.
Here’s wishing Tim Conway many more birthdays!