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Subject: Archive: Ted Knight, Aug. 26, 1986


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Date Posted: Monday, August 26, 03:50:02pm

LOS ANGELES -- Ted Knight, the silver-haired comic actor who won two Emmys for his role as the pompous, bumbling TV news anchorman Ted Baxter on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show,' has died of cancer. He was 62.

Publicist Henry Bollinger said Knight died at his home Tuesday afternoon of complications from cancer of the urinary tract that was diagnosed about a year ago. His wife, Dorothy, and three children were with him.


Knight played more than 300 television roles in his career, but he was best known for his portrayal of Ted Baxter on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show.'

As the egotistical newscaster on the show, set in a Minneapolis TV newsroom, Knight provided a comic foil for an all-star ensemble that included Moore, Ed Asner, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper and Gavin MacLeod.
'I really loved Ted Baxter and Ted Knight altogether,' said Grant Tinker, who produced the show that ran on CBS from 1971 to 1977. 'I loved them both. They gave so many of us so many great laughs.'

MacLeod, who played newswriter Murray Slaughter on the show, called Knight 'one of the most creative people I ever met.'

'We were planning to do a play together,' MacLeod said. 'He had been told that he was very sick, but that other people had recovered and he planned on doing just that.'
After 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' went off the air, Knight appeared in the short-lived series 'The Ted Knight Show,' then in 'Too Close for Comfort,' later renamed 'The Ted Knight Show,' playing a conservative cartoonist whose two grown daughters move back to their family home in San Francisco.

The show, which ran three years on ABC, has been in first-run syndication for four seasons, and Bollinger said new episodes already filmed would air through the spring.
Knight complained that the Baxter role led to typecasting.
'During the past couple of years I had offers to star in seven situation comedies,' he said in 1980. 'The parts were all clones of the Baxter buffoon.

'Even so, I'll be indebted to Baxter for the rest of my life. After seven years in the part, I am one of the most recognized actors in the business.'

Knight was born Tadeus Wladyslaw Konopka on Dec. 7, 1923, in Terryville, Conn. After serving in the Army, he began his career in stage productions and worked as a disc jockey, singer, ventriloquist, puppeteer and pantomimist in Hartford, Conn.

After a time in New York, Knight moved to Los Angeles in 1957 and was one of Hollywood's busiest actors, appearing in such TV series as 'Gunsmoke' and 'Get Smart.' He also provided voices for hundreds of commercials and cartoon shows.

In 1980, Knight co-starred in the movie 'Caddyshack.'
Besides his wife of 36 years, Knight is survived by sons, Ted Jr., 32, and Eric, 22, and a daughter, Elyse, 26.
Private services were planned for Friday. The family asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Price-Pottenger Foundation to finance films on children and natural lifestyles.

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Wow, hard to believe Ted Baxter's son is 65 nowadays! Of course Knight would be 96 now. -Still YOUNGER than Betty White! ...Gott love Ted Knight in classic CADDYSHACK! ...Monday, August 26, 05:39:57pm


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