Tom Smothers, the stammering, innocent-looking driving drive behind the groundbreaking “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” TV present within the Sixties that led the way in which for the political and cultural satire of “Saturday Evening Stay,” has died at 86 after a latest battle with most cancers, it was introduced Wednesday.
A household assertion launched by the Nationwide Comedy Heart mentioned Smothers died peacefully Tuesday at house along with his household at his facet. The assertion didn’t point out a spot of demise, however Deadline reported it occurred in Santa Rosa.
“Tom was not solely the loving older brother that everybody would need of their life, he was a one-of-a-kind inventive companion,” mentioned Dick Smothers, his brother and co-star.
“I’m perpetually grateful to have spent a lifetime along with him, on and off stage, for over 60 years. Our relationship was like an excellent marriage — the longer we have been collectively, the extra we beloved and revered each other. We have been really blessed.”
The Nationwide Comedy Heart launched its personal assertion, which mentioned: “Tom Smothers was not solely a unprecedented comedic expertise, who, collectively along with his brother Dick, grew to become probably the most enduring comedy duo in historical past, entertaining the world for over six many years — however was a real champion for freedom of speech, harnessing the ability of comedy to push boundaries and our political consciousness.
“Tom was a real pioneer who modified the face of tv and remodeled our tradition with The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which satirized politics, combated racism, protested the Vietnam Struggle, and led the way in which for Saturday Evening Stay, The Every day Present, right this moment’s community late evening exhibits, and a lot extra.”
“The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” aired on CBS from 1967-69, taking up an more and more political tone because the warfare in Vietnam raged. At one level, CBS executives ordered the present to be taped and accomplished some 10 days upfront so extra edgy content material may very well be edited out.
The brothers introduced a folks music component to their act, with Tom enjoying the acoustic guitar and Dick enjoying standup bass — mixing humor inside their music. Dick performed the straight man to Tom’s barely dim-witted character.
However their humor additionally pushed limitations within the politically charged Sixties – – and finally, the barrier-pushing pushed executives too far and the present was canceled.
The present additionally featured widespread musical acts of the day equivalent to Joan Baez, Buffalo Springfield, the Doorways and Jefferson Airplane. In 1967, folks singer Pete Seeger made an look on the present, his first community look in 17 years following the blacklisting of the Nineteen Fifties.
The Smothers Brothers have been honored with a star on the Hollywood Stroll of Fame on Nov. 2, 1989.
At 1 p.m. Wednesday, flowers shall be positioned on the star at 6555 Hollywood Blvd.
Moreover his brother Dick, Smothers is survived by his kids Bo and Riley Rose Smothers; grandson Phoenix; Marcy Carriker Smothers; sister-in-law Marie Smothers, and several other nephews and a niece, the Nationwide Comedy Heart mentioned.
—Metropolis Information Service