Controversial yet famous comic Gallagher has sadly passed away. The late comedian, whose real name is Leo Anthony Gallagher, made a name for himself by smashing watermelons as part of his act.
His unfortunate passing at 76 was confirmed by his family.
Comedian Gallagher Dies At 76 After A Long Career
A rep for the late comedian’s family broke the news of his demise. His son-in-law revealed that the North Carolina native died from “organ failure” while in hospice care in Palm Springs, California. According to multiple reports, the comic hadn’t been in good health for a while, suffering multiple heart attacks.
A rep for the “Showtime Comedy Spotlight Gallagher: The Maddest” star addressed the news of his demise, telling The Blast, “Gallagher stayed on the road touring America for decades. He was pretty sure he held a record for the most stand-up dates, by attrition alone. While Gallagher had his detractors, he was an undeniable talent and an American success story.”
Gallagher first attained recognition after appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, immediately standing out with his unique form of comedy — something Carson didn’t appreciate at first. However, by doing things his own way, he rose to become a household name.
The highlight of his career, however, was his signature sketch, “Sledge-O-Matic,” where he’d take a large, handmade wooden mallet and smash a variety of foods before ending in the main act — a watermelon. The controversial act was a parody of the Veg-O-Matic commercials, and it would make him the No. 1 comedian in America for 15 years, with comedy specials airing on Showtime and MTV.
According to his manager, his comedy stand-up special “An Uncensored Evening,” which aired in 1980, was the first to ever air on cable television.
Throughout his very long career, he hosted 14 Showtime specials and around 3,500 live comedy shows, according to his website. The comedian also starred in Geico commercials and in his first movie, “The Book of Daniel.”
The Late Comic Battled Health Issues Publicly
Alongside his tremendous talent, Gallagher Smash, as he was fondly called, often made headlines because of his shaky health. In 2011, he collapsed on stage. While at the Whiskey Bones Road House, performing his Sledge-O-Matic routine, he was seen holding his sledgehammer when he hunched over and fell backward onto the stage.
Moments after he hit the ground, people from the audience ran on stage to help. He was then transported to Saint Mary’s Hospital shortly after the incident. Luckily, he scaled through and appeared to be back in good spirits.
However, the following year, Gallagher suffered a headline-making heart attack.
Per reports, hours before he was set to perform in Texas, he had a heart attack after suffering intense chest pains and had to be hospitalized. At the time, his manager confirmed that he was to be hospitalized for days so the doctor could “figure out what’s wrong with his ticker.”
Tributes have since poured in on social media, honoring Gallagher’s famous legacy. The late comic was survived by his two children, daughter Aimee, and son Barnaby.
May his soul rest in peace.