Tim Conway, the actor and comedian whose career in entertainment spanned decades and included memorable stints on shows ranging from "The Carol Burnett Show" to "SpongeBob SquarePants," has died. He was 85.
Conway died from water on the brain Tuesday in Los Angeles, his representative told Variety.
The comic savored playing the consummate funnyman, content to stand on the sidelines cracking jokes rather than bask in the spotlight afforded to a leading man.
On the cartoon "SpongeBob SquarePants," he voiced Barnacle Boy, the underappreciated sidekick of Mermaid Man, voiced by the late Ernest Borgnine. A spoof of classic superhero pairings like Batman and Robin, and Aquaman and Aqualad, Barnacle Boy often appeared irritated with Mermaid Man’s scatterbrained behavior.
In September 2018, "SpongeBob" showrunner Vincent Waller said Conway would not be returning to the cartoon, writing on Twitter: “No, sadly not. Mr. Conway is having health issues. He came in for the 2nd SB movie and voiced a seagull, but it wasn't easy for him.”
Conway’s breakout role was on the 1960s sitcom "McHale’s Navy," where he played Ensign Charles Parker, a blundering ensign in World War II. He appeared as a core member in 66 episodes of "The Carol Burnett Show," where his delivery and improvisational wit often left his castmates in stitches.
“Watching Tim Conway destroy his castmates is pure joy,” comedian Patton Oswalt wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “#RIPTimConway.”
"I've never been comfortable as the star," Conway told the Archive of American Television. "I don't feature myself as being the head man. I would much rather stand in the background and make small, funny things go, than be up at the head of the class."
Born Thomas Daniel Conway in Ohio, he served in the Army and went on to make his debut on local television. He moved to New York to join "The Steve Allen Show" in the early 1960s, where there was already a staffer named Tom Conway. So, he became Tim Conway.
His long and storied career earned Conway 13 Emmy nominations and six wins, including for a guest appearance on "30 Rock" in 2008.
Conway was married to Mary Anne Dalton from 1961 until 1978 and they had six children together. He married Charlene Fusco on May 18, 1984, and they remained together until his death. He is also survived by a stepdaughter.
The comic had previously been diagnosed with dementia and was confined to a wheelchair, his daughter Kelly said in 2018, People reported.