Pat McCormick dies at 78

Pat McCormick, Emmy-nominated Hollywood writer and actor, has died at the age of 78.

McCormick, known for his intimidating 6-foot-6-inch stature and walrus-style mustache, passed away at the Motion Picture and Television Fund's hospital in Woodland Hills on Friday, July 29. He was admitted to the facility in 1998 after a severe stroke left him paralyzed and unable to speak, effectively ending his career.

After brief stints in law school and advertising, McCormick began writing for Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show in 1962. He wrote jokes for Carson, Red Skelton, Phyllis Diller, and others, in addition to appearing in many sketches himself. He often wore goofy costumes in the skits, and in one memorable 1974 show he streaked nude across the stage during Carson's opening monologue.

McCormick earned Emmy nominations for the 1978 special "Bette Midler: Ol' Red Hair Is Back" and The Tonight Show's 18th anniversary special. He also worked on shows such as Get Smart, The Jack Paar Show, Candid Camera, The New Bill Cosby Show, and The Don Rickles Show. His big-screen work includes History of the World: Part I, The Shaggy D.A., and all three Smokey and the Bandit films, in which he famously played Big Enos.

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