Gallagher, Comedian Known for Smashing Watermelons, Dies at 76

Gallagher, the inventive prop comedian known for breaking the mold as part of his act, died Friday of organ failure, his former manager Craig Marcardo confirmed. kind of. He was 76 years old.

Gallagher had been in a hospital in California in recent years after suffering several heart attacks.

Born Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr., the iconic comedian became a household name in 1980 with “An Uncensored Evening,” the first stand-up comedy special ever to air during the show. Gallagher would go on to create 12 more hour-long specials for the network, as well as several hit shows for HBO.

Gallagher’s signature bit included a handmade sledgehammer he called a “sledge-o-matic” that he would use on stage to break up food and spray it on the audience. His Hammer’s trademark victim was the watermelon. Gallagher also became known for his witty wordplay and quick observational comedy.

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While his contemporaries have gone on to host talk shows or star in sitcoms or movies, Gallagher has remained on the road in America for nearly four decades, traveling constantly until the COVID-19 pandemic and his He played over 3,500 live shows throughout his career. In his later years, Gallagher directed a long-running Jacko commercial and appeared in his first film, “The Book of Daniel”. In 2019, he embarked on a farewell tour called “The Last Break”.

In the early 1990s, Gallagher allowed his brother, Ron Gallagher, to perform shows using the “Sledge-O-Matic” routine, in the event that promotional material would clearly state that it was Ron. Not Leo, who does. After a few years, Ron began marketing his act as Gallagher Two or Gallagher Two, and in some cases it was not clear that he was in fact the original Gallagher. Leo demanded that Ron stop doing the “Sledge-O-Matic” sketch, but his brother continued the routine. In 2000, Leo sued his brother for trademark infringement and false advertising, and the courts issued an injunction barring Ron from doing anything that impersonates Leo, as well as intentionally resembling him. has a wall

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Gallagher was embroiled in another lawsuit in the early 90s when a woman named Robyn Vaughn sued him for injuries she sustained on his show. Seeking $100,000 in damages, Vaughan claims she suffered head injuries that caused her to miss six months of work after Gallagher broke a prop that then hit her. The court again sided with Gallagher.

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Later in his career, Gallagher faced accusations of racism and homophobia in his act, with some venues even canceling his shows. On a now-infamous episode of his “WTF” podcast, Marc Marvin took issue with Gallagher over the idea that his actions were offensive. In the podcast, Gallagher doubles down on his offensive material and eventually walks out of the interview.

given in a statement kind of“While Gallagher had his critics, he was an incredible talent and an American success story,” Marcardo wrote of his former client.

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