Date of Birth 30 June 1927, Lakewood, Ohio, USA Date of Death 29 July 2005, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA (lingering effects of a massive stroke) Birth Name Arley D. McCormick Height 6' 7" (2.01 m) Mini Biography Veteran comic Pat McCormick was one of those second tier funnymen whose career enjoy great longevity on the stand-up and TV variety circuits, but fell just short of making it to the all-stars. As a gag writer, however, he reigned supreme. Pat was born on June 30, 1927, in Lakewood Ohio. Already a king-sized presence in high school, he proved himself a championship hurdler. Shortly after World War II he entered the Army. Discharged in 1948, he had initial designs on a law career but dropped out of Harvard Law School to work in advertising in New York City. On the sly he started writing comedy material for stand-up artists and for TV, forming a duo comedy act in the process with comedian-turned writer Marc London, whom he had known from his days at Harvard. In the meantime Pat began writing special material for the likes of Phyllis Diller, Jonathan Winters and Henny Youngman. Pat's big break came when he was hired by Jack Paar to write for his family talk show. This created a chain reaction as his expertise for offbeat, often warped humor was utilized by Merv Griffin, Red Skelton, Danny Kaye, Lucille Ball, Bette Midler and notably by Johnny Carson for 12 years on his "Tonight Show." Pat also wrote for such TV shows as "Candid Camera" and "Get Smart." In the 60s, at age 40+, he finally started appearing before the camera. He earned a job as announcer and regular straight man for Don Rickles on his short-lived TV variety show in 1968 and then became a regular on "The New Bill Cosby Show" (1972). Known for his towering but harmless girth, walrus-styled mustache and balding, combed-over hair style, Pat became a standard fixture on the talk show circuit and the ever-popular Friars Club roasts shown sporadically featuring contemporary comrades Jackie Gayle, Shelley Berman, Slappy White and Shecky Greene. His voice became a well-oiled instrument in hundreds of radio ads and commercials, many of which he wrote. As for film, the 6'7", 270 pound comedian was best known for playing Big Enos Burdette alongside Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and its 1980 and 1983 sequels. He was also utilized by esteemed director Robert Altman in a couple of his films, portraying hefty President Grover Cleveland in Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976) and Dina Merrill's moneybags husband in A Wedding (1978). He added to the innocuous fun in such popcorn movies as The Shaggy D.A. (1976), Scavenger Hunt (1979), The Gong Show Movie (1980), Under the Rainbow (1981) in which he also wrote the screenplay, Doin' Time (1985), Rented Lips (1988), and, his last, Ted & Venus (1991). On TV, besides the various variety and talk shows he frequented, he appeared as an actor in the sitcoms "Sanford and Son," "Laverne & Shirley," "The Golden Girls" and "Grace Under Fire," among others. Following a massive stroke in 1998 which rendered him speechless and paralyzed, Pat was placed in permanent care at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. He passed away there on July 29, 2005, and was survived by son Ben and a grandson. Mini Biography Funnyman Pat McCormick was a big guy - 6 1/2 feet tall, well over 200 pounds, and that signature walrus mustache - who always made a big impression! He dropped out of Harvard Law School to pursue an advertising career in New York City, but he eventually abandoned that pursuit when he began writing jokes and gags for television and nightclub performers, including Phyllis Diller and Red Skelton. In a career than spanned over five decades, McComick wrote for "The Jack Paar Show" as well as such 1960s comedy series as "Get Smart" and "The Danny Kaye Show." He also wrote and appeared on "Candid Camera" as well as being was an announcer and straight man on Don Rickles short-lived TV variety show in 1968. He was also a regular on "The New Bill Cosby Show" in 1972. McCormick also wrote for and made scores of appearances on "The Tonight Show." He played characters in sketches, including dressing up as turkeys, squirrels, and the shark from "Jaws." In one memorable 1974 appearance, he streaked naked across the stage behind Johnny Carson during the opening monologue. His most notable part was Texas blow-hard millionaire Big Enos in the 1977 blockbuster movie "Smokey and the Bandit" and its two sequels. Mini Biography Among Pat's many attributes was that he always had some great, utterly topical joke. No matter what was in the news, Pat had a line about it, sometimes even in good taste. It was among the reasons for Johnny Carson to keep him on the payroll of The Tonight Show for years, regardless of what he handed in. The other writers on Johnny's staff were held to strict production quotas: You had to produce X number of monologue-worthy jokes each week or you were outta there...but the rule didn't apply to Pat. There were long stretches -- months, sometimes -- when Pat handed in nothing or at least, nothing usable. It was no secret that his life was a flurry of drinking and drugs and women. For a time, he was involved with Johnny's "matinee girl," Carol Wayne, and was deeply affected when she drowned in a boating accident. Johnny never pressed Pat for material, telling his staff, "When he turns in something good, it'll be worth it." There are hundreds of stories, most of them true, about Pat's outrageous deeds and actions. The ones about him dropping his pants at his mother's funeral or streaking (running nude) through a Tonight Show taping are among the few that can be told in, as they say, mixed company. For the last seven years, Pat was left in a sad and hopeless condition after he had driven his car in and...well, he either suffered a stroke which caused him to crash his car into a concrete wall in the parking lot or he crashed his car into the wall and that triggered the stroke. Pat, once one of the wittiest men ever in show business, never spoke another intelligible word. Trivia Retired after suffering a debilitating stroke in 1998 that left him paralyzed and unable to speak. Entered the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, after suffering a stroke in 1998, Father of Ben McCormick. He was a champion hurdler in high school. Served in the Army from 1946 to 1948. After military service, he graduated from Harvard University. A year into studies at Harvard Law School, he dropped out to work in advertising in New York City, a short-lived career he gave up for comedy writing.
Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson
The President of the United States (Grover Cleveland)