The National Comedy Center reported that Tom Smothers, known for his role in the Smothers Brothers, passed away on December 26 at his residence. Battling cancer, the renowned comedian and musician was 86.
Born Thomas Bolyn Smothers III in 1937 in New York, Tom Smothers moved to California with his family, including his younger brother Dick. He completed his education at Redondo Union High School and later attended San José State College. It was here in 1959, Tom, alongside Dick, founded the folk music ensemble Casual Quintet. Their breakthrough came with a long-running stint at San Francisco’s Purple Onion, lasting a remarkable 36 weeks.
By 1961, the duo, now famously known as the Smothers Brothers, made a significant appearance at New York’s Blue Angel club. The New York Times’ Robert Shelton reviewed their act, noting their sharp, satirical style, particularly in the realm of folk music. Shelton highlighted Tom’s dominant role in their humor, describing him as a charismatic and inventive guitarist.
The Smothers Brothers soon became television staples, appearing on shows like Jack Paar’s Tonight, The Judy Garland Show, Burke’s Law, and The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1965, they launched their sitcom, The Smothers Brothers Show, which was followed by the more successful The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967. This variety show featured legends like George Harrison, Joan Baez, and Ray Charles, and was a launching pad for comedy talents like Steve Martin and Rob Reiner.
However, the show faced an abrupt cancellation in 1969. Tom Smothers later suggested that this was due to political pressures from President Richard M. Nixon’s administration. He believed that Nixon’s influence played a key role in the show’s termination, contrasting what might have been if Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey had won the election.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Tom Smothers Obituary
Who was Tom Smothers?
Tom Smothers was a comedian and musician, best known as one half of the Smothers Brothers, a folk music and comedy duo he formed with his brother Dick Smothers.
How old was Tom Smothers when he passed away?
Tom Smothers passed away at the age of 86.
What was the cause of Tom Smothers’ death?
Tom Smothers died after battling cancer.
What was Tom Smothers’ significant contribution to television?
Tom Smothers, with his brother, was known for the “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” a variety show that featured numerous musical guests and comedians, contributing significantly to television comedy.
Did Tom Smothers have any notable appearances on television shows?
Yes, Tom Smothers appeared on several television shows including Jack Paar’s Tonight, The Judy Garland Show, Burke’s Law, and The Ed Sullivan Show.
Why was “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” canceled?
“The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” was canceled in 1969, with Tom Smothers suggesting it was due to political pressure from President Richard M. Nixon’s administration.
More about Tom Smothers Obituary
- Smothers Brothers Biography
- Tom Smothers Career Highlights
- The Impact of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”
- Tom Smothers in Television History
- Obituaries of Prominent Comedians