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January 1, Legendary Comedian Gallagher Passes at 76



Gallagher, the legendary comedian known for smashing watermelons onstage, has passed away at age 76.

The prop comedian died Friday of organ failure, his former manager Craig Marquardo confirmed in a statement.

“After a short health battle, Gallagher, born Leo Gallagher, succumbed to his ailments and passed away surrounded by his family in Palm Springs, California,” Marquardo said. “He had previously suffered numerous heart attacks, something he and David Letterman talked about on an appearance a few years back.”

Gallagher made history with his 1980 stand-up special “An Uncensored Evening,” the first to ever air on cable television. He became a household name with his signature “Sledge-O-Matic” sketch, where he’d smash a variety of foods with a large wooden mallet, ending with his main act — a watermelon.

“Gallagher stayed on the road touring America for decades. He was pretty sure he held a record for the most stand-up dates, by attrition alone,” his representative told TMZ. “While Gallagher had his detractors, he was an undeniable talent and an American success story.”

The comedian had a series of health issues over the years. In 2011, he collapsed onstage while performing in Minnesota. In 2012, he suffered a heart attack in Texas shortly before he was supposed to perform.

Gallagher is survived by his two children, Aimee and Barnaby.

Sources: TMZ | Variety



  1. lawdog13

    November 12, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    Oh shit!!!!! I was splattered by his fruits and vegetables in Reno Nevava many years ago. Went home smelling like a garbage truck that night. He was a very funny man. RIP!!!!!

    • Pat McNeil

      November 25, 2022 at 6:23 am

      I’m from Reno – which year & casino was he performing in? I live in France now so I’m not up to date except what I get on FB from friends like you!

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