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Tim Conway

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Thomas Daniel "Tim" Conway (born December 15, 1933) appears in a recurring role as Ephraim Wanker. a farmer in Wanker County and Peg's father on Married with Children. An Emmy award-winning American comedian and actor, who has worked in sitcoms, sketch comedy and film, Tim is perhaps best known for his role in the popular 1960s WWII sitcom McHale's Navy as the inept Ensign Charles Parker, second in command to Lt. Commander Quinton McHale (played by Ernest Borgnine), for co-starring alongside Carol Burnett on the long-running 1967-78 CBS variety series The Carol Burnett Show, and as the voice of Barnacle Boy from the animated series SpongeBob SquarePants.

Early lifeEdit

Tim was born in Willoughby, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, to a Romanian mother, and grew up in nearby Chagrin Falls.[1] He attended Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, majoring in speech and radio, and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. After graduating, he joined the U.S. Army, and thereafter took a job at a Cleveland radio station, at first answering mail and later as a writer in the promotional department. Conway changed his first name to "Tim" to avoid confusion with actor Tom Conway.

CareerEdit

Ghoulardi TV program in Cleveland Edit

Conway moved back to Cleveland to work with Ernie Anderson on KYW-TV, an NBC affiliate, in 1958 and 1959 and later, from 1960 to 1962, on WJW-TV (then a CBS affiliate) on a weekday morning film (under the Ernie's Place banner), where he also wrote material for the comedic skits shown in between film intermissions. Conway also recorded a comedy album with Anderson.

WJW-TV dismissed Conway, in part because he (and Anderson) misled station management into thinking he was a director.[2] Because of this move, which deprived Anderson of his co-host and comic foil, the station asked Anderson if he could host a B-grade (and lower) horror film show on Friday nights instead. Conway continued to make many appearances alongside Anderson's alter ego Ghoulardi, in addition to "Big Chuck" Schodowski, a station engineer who Anderson got to assume much of Conway's sidekick status (and who ultimately succeeded Anderson as co-host of the horror film program).

After he became famous, Conway resurfaced periodically on Cleveland television on the Hoolihan and Big Chuck and Big Chuck and Lil' John shows on WJW-TV in guest spots, and occasional skits. Conway has since made regular guest appearances at numerous "Ghoulardifest" functions held by WJW over the years, along with former Cleveland TV personality Bob "Hoolihan" Wells, in tribute to Anderson, who died in 1997.

The Steve Allen ShowEdit

Comedic actress Rose Marie visited WJW-TV in 1961, as part of CBS's promotional practice of sending their major show stars directly to local affiliates: in this case, it was for The Dick Van Dyke Show. She viewed tapes of some of Anderson and Conway's skits and proceeded to take Conway under her wing. Following his departure from WJW, Conway moved to New York City; where, with Rose Marie's assistance, he auditioned for, and gained a spot on, ABC's The Steve Allen Show as a regular player. Conway (who by this point had officially changed his first name to Tim) continued on the show for two seasons.

McHale's NavyEdit

Tim gained a national following from his role as the bumbling, naive Ensign Charles Parker, Executive Officer of the PT-73, in the 1960s CBS sitcom McHale's Navy, alongside Ernest Borgnine and Joe Flynn, where the two had gotten along well. After cancellation, Conway became a good friend to the legendary Academy Award winning actor. He used to run into Borgnine a lot, even appearing at his mentor's 90th birthday celebration, and 4 years later, paid tribute to his decades-long friend at 7th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on TNT.[3] He lost his decades-long friend on July 8, 2012, the year after Borgnine was being honored. Prior to his TV captain's death, Conway revealed that "Borgnine was 'like a big teddy bear' and 'a very pleasant person to be around' when he worked with him on the World War Two sitcom 'McHale's Navy'."[4]

Afterwards, he starred in a string of short-lived TV series, starting with 1967's Rango which starred Conway as an incompetent Texas Ranger.


The Carol Burnett ShowEdit

Conway then became a regular on The Carol Burnett Show starting in the 1975–76 season; where as, during the previous 8 seasons, he had appeared as a recurring player. Conway's work on the show earned him five Emmy Awards. Two of Conway's memorable characters on the Burnett Show were:

  • "The Old Man," whose shaggy white hair, slow speech, and shuffling gait ran counter to the much needed energy levels of the various occupations he was usually found in. His comic inability to get said jobs done — usually with slapstick results to himself, and with many an ad-lib — both frustrated and 'broke up' his fellow sketch performers. It was revealed in subsequent episodes that The Old Man's name was Duane Toddleberry.
  • "Mr. Tudball," a Swedish-American businessman whose intentions of running a 'ship-shape' office were usually sunk by the bored indifference of his secretary, "Mrs. Wiggins" (Burnett). Conway used a stereotypical Swedish accent (especially when frustrated); for example, his attempts to pronounce his secretary's name came out as "Mrs. Ah-huh-wiggins". He also used this accent for other characters, such as an inept dentist.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Thomas Attila Lewis (2011-04-08). "Interview Tim Conway – To Appear at the Wilbur on Sunday". bostonist.com. http://bostonist.com/2011/04/08/bostonist_interview_tim_conway.php. Retrieved 2011-05-21. 
  2. End of an Era..WJW-TV movie hosts Tim Conway admits to this starting at 3:35, also remarking that "(WKYC) 3 wouldn't take me back, and (WEWS) 5 said I was too short."
  3. Tim Conway to introduce Ernest Borgnine tribute. cleveland.com. Retrieved on 2012-08-24.
  4. Tim Conway: 'Ernest Borgnine Was Like A Big Teddy Bear' | Video. Contactmusic.com (2012-07-13). Retrieved on 2012-08-24.

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