ShareThis Page
World

'Night Court' star Harry Anderson, 65, found dead in home

| Monday, April 16, 2018, 8:09 p.m.
Harry Anderson
Harry Anderson
In this May 19, 1988, file photo, Harry Anderson poses after a press conference in New York. Authorities said, Monday, April 16, 2018, that actor Harry Anderson of 'Night Court' comedy series fame died in North Carolina.
Associated Press
In this May 19, 1988, file photo, Harry Anderson poses after a press conference in New York. Authorities said, Monday, April 16, 2018, that actor Harry Anderson of 'Night Court' comedy series fame died in North Carolina.

Harry Anderson, the actor best known for playing an off-the-wall judge working the night shift of a Manhattan court room in the television comedy series "Night Court," was found dead in his North Carolina home Monday.

Anderson was 65.

A statement from the Asheville Police Department said officers responded to a call from Anderson's home early Monday and found him dead. The statement said foul play is not suspected.

On "Night Court," Anderson played Judge Harry T. Stone, a young jurist who professed his love for singer Mel Torme, actress Jean Harlow, magic tricks and his collection of art-deco ties.

He also starred in the series "Dave's World" and appeared on "Cheers" as con man Harry 'The Hat' Gittes.

Anderson prided himself on being a magician as well as actor.

"I got into magic when I was a child," he told The Associated Press in 1987. "Unlike most kids, I stayed with it. My high school teachers were always asking me what I was going to do. It made me what I am today — available for weekend employment, parties and bar mitzvahs."

Anderson, was born in Newport, Rhode Island, on Oct. 14, 1952. He grew up in New York and moved to Oregon when he was a teenager and said that's where he became a hippie.

"The Shakespeare Festival at Ashland, Oregon, seemed like a good place to open a magic store," he said. "At 18, I was ready for retirement. It didn't last long, but I was established as the magician. I worked the streets in San Francisco and I did magic and special effects at the festival."

Anderson learned the ropes as a street performer in San Francisco, New Orleans, and Austin, Texas, among other cities. When he made his first appearance on "Saturday Night Live," he was right off the street.

"Cheers' was my first acting job, but it was basically the character I had developed on the street," he said. "That's now I made my living, hustling drinks in bars and quarters on the street."

"Night Court" ran on NBC from 1984 until 1992, and Anderson received three lead comedy actor Emmy nominations for his role. After the show ended, he was cast in the lead role in the CBS sitcom "Dave's World," which was based on the life of Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist Dave Barry. That series ran from 1993 until 1997.

A People magazine story in 2002 said Anderson disappeared from Hollywood and resurfaced as the owner of a New Orleans magic shop.

"I am richer than Davy Crockett," Anderson said in the story. "I can settle back and do what I want to do. And what I want to do is card tricks and magic.' That includes magic shows for corporate clients ("Fifty-five minutes with applause," says Anderson) at $20,000 a pop.

According to the story, Anderson was disenchanted by the prospect of chasing acting roles into middle age. "I don't understand why guys have that Don Knotts syndrome of having to be out there." He sold his home in Pasadena, California, and moved back to New Orleans, where he had lived in the 1970s.

Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he moved to Asheville.

Anderson had two children from his first marriage to Leslie Pollack. His second wife, Elizabeth Morgan, is among his survivors. There was no immediate word on funeral arrangements Monday night.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me