The loss of Harry Anderson has reverberated through the magic and entertainment community this past week, with illusionists, actors, and other artists remembering the laughs he brought to everyone’s lives. For this week’s Lazy Sunday, I’m going to let Anderson’s effervescent charisma and impressive sleight of hand do all the talking, and post some of my favorite videos I’ve found kicking around the internet:
Here’s a compilation of Late Show With David Letterman appearances Anderson made back in the 1980’s, where Harry shows off “bad” card tricks and his hustling skills in a three-card Monte routine:
Here he is performing on the 1988 revival of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour:
Here’s his 1986 Showtime special, Hello, Sucker, which includes his infamous needle-through-arm trick:
Watch him make a table float for Johnny Carson:
Here, he punishes a guinea pig when it fails to perform his acrobatic tricks for Saturday Night Live!:
And of course, Harry’s signature “Grappler” routine:
Late yesterday afternoon, reports emerged that Night Court star, magician, and all-around goofball Harry Anderson had died at the age of 65. As the sad news of his passing spread on social media, family members, illusionists, and entertainers of all stripes began offering their condolences and sharing their memories of the lovable late TV star.
Daughter Eva Anderson remembers an interview director Judd Apatow once conducted with her father:
My father loved that interview and shared it with us just before your book was published. Thank you so much for capturing him at that moment in his life. It is an incredibly special thing to have. https://t.co/mdsYAMpRSa
— evafay (@evafay) April 17, 2018
Co-star John B. Larroquette says “he could eat a hamster like no one I ever knew”:
Harry Anderson. He was wicked smart. He was wicked funny. He had a big laugh. He had a big heart. He delighted in legerdemain especially when he caused someone to scratch their head and proclaim; How the hell did you do that? And he could eat a hamster like no one I ever knew.
— John B. Larroquette (@johnlarroquette) April 17, 2018
Derek Delgaudio remembers him as more than “that guy from Night Court”:
Most people know Harry Anderson as “that guy from Night Court.” But he really was one of the greatest comedy magicians of all time. He will be missed. https://t.co/tMKzHCHcAs
— DEREK DELGAUDIO (@derek_del) April 17, 2018
David Copperfield poses with Anderson’s famed three-card Monte props:
The world lost a truly gifted actor and magician – Harry Anderson.
Popular for his role on Night Court, Harry also inspired generations of magicians with his unique style. #HarryAnderson pic.twitter.com/8ayVXg4pG6
— David Copperfield (@D_Copperfield) April 17, 2018
Tom Stone says what we’re all thinking:
NBC says goodbye to Judge Stone:
We’ll miss you, Harry Anderson. The honorable Judge Harry Stone is forever in our hearts. pic.twitter.com/CvI61zGKQx
— NBC Entertainment (@nbc) April 17, 2018
FISM also shares its condolences:
Sad news, Harry Anderson has passed away. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/PGHkjKkc1C
— FISM ® (@FISMmagic) April 17, 2018
As does Rudy Coby:
Broken-hearted about losing my hero Harry Anderson today. Xoxo pic.twitter.com/ap6ZeIOX3s
— Rudy Coby (@rudycoby) April 17, 2018
Lance Burton remembers working with Harry for the USA For Africa fundraiser:
So sorry to hear the news of Harry Anderson's passing.
I did not know him well, but really liked him. He was a nice man, and a super talented Magician and Actor.
We got to work together in 1985 at a fundraiser to raise money for USA for Africa.
Rest In Peace pic.twitter.com/e6lSugm5b2
— Lance Burton (@LanceBurtonMM) April 17, 2018
Neil Patrick Harris remembers working with him in the Magic Castle:
Stunned by the passing of Harry Anderson, one of my comedy and magic inspirations growing up. We became friendly over the years – he worked at the @MagicCastle_AMA and recently sold me a handful of great magic memorabilia. My sincere condolences to his family. #RIP pic.twitter.com/k9FITPIaBS
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) April 17, 2018
Woody Aragon calls him “one of the most important comedy magicians”:
Ha muerto Harry "The Hat" Anderson, uno de los más importantes magos cómicos de los 80. 🙁 https://t.co/n4oP0u6okL
— Woody Aragón (@WoodyAragon) April 17, 2018
David from Magic Orthodoxy shares the first trick he ever bought:
One of the first #magictricks I ever bought was Harry Anderson's Needle Thru The Arm #rip #brokenwand pic.twitter.com/FRnJcmTiIv
— Magic Orthodoxy (@MagicOrthodoxy) April 17, 2018
Eric Mead says goodbye to an old friend:
Oh no! Harry Anderson has died. Learned so much watching him as I was growing up in magic, and later so lucky to become his friend. I remember him best as the comic con man magician "Harry the Hat." G'night old friend. Thanks for the lessons and laughs. https://t.co/PtKtPACo8Q
— Eric Mead (@meaderic) April 17, 2018
And to close, Ace Cunnings shares a lovely quote from the late performer:
Harry Anderson, A man who could make us all smile. He was a man with many talents. It saddens me to say… Rest In Peace. You will be missed. But never forgotten.
Even a fool knows you can't touch the stars, but it won't keep the wise from trying.
-Harry Anderson pic.twitter.com/IqCsdv31fH
— Ace Cunnings (@AceCunnings) April 17, 2018
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.