Harry Anderson, best known for his role as the prank-slinging Judge Harry Stone on 80’s sitcom Night Court, has passed away at the age of 65. According to reports, he was found dead in his Asheville, North Carolina home on Monday. No foul play is suspected.
Anderson began his career in show-business performing as a street magician when he was 17, but made his big break with appearances on Saturday Night Live! and Cheers as recurring character Harry ‘The Hat’ Gittes. In 1984, he began his nine season, three-time Emmy-nominated stint as Judge Stone on Night Court, and would often infuse his love for magic into the role by playing practical jokes on his colleagues, like the bit below where he removes a finger from his hand and begins chowing down on it:
Anderson loved magic, and outside of his sitcom work, he made a successful career out of touring, performing, and even selling magical curiosities. In 1987, he starred in a TV special called Harry Anderson’s Sideshow; in 1996, he starred in a one-man special on CBS entitled Harry Anderson: The Tricks of His Trade. You can see his signature Grappler routine in the video below:
He also made numerous appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, performing magic and talking shop. Johnny Carson called him “one of the best comedy magicians around”:
In the 1990’s, Anderson opened up a magic shop in New Orleans called Sideshow, and eventually moved to the city with his second wife, Elizabeth Morgan in 2002. He also opened up a night club in 2005 called Oswald’s Speakeasy, but sold it in October 2006 when he and his family moved to Asheville, North Carolina.
He is survived by his wife and two children. We at GeniiOnline offer our sincerest condolences to his friends, family, and loved ones.