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Subject: ARCHIVE: January 11, 1982 ~ Paul Lynde dies at 55

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Date Posted: Monday, January 11, 08:53:23am

Funnyman Paul Lynde dead at 55

HOLLYWOOD -- Comedian Paul Lynde, best known for his off-beat wisecracks on TV's 'Hollywood Squares' game show, was found dead at his Beverly Hills home Sunday night, apparently of natural causes, a family spokesman said today. He was 55.

Lynde was found by friends who broke into his home because he failed to appear at a dinner party earlier in the evening, Alan David, the performer's long-time friend and agent said.

'They found his body in his bed,' David said. 'Apparently he had been dead for several hours. The coroner said Lynde died of natural causes.'

The coroner's office said an autoposy would be performed later today to determine the exact cause of death.

Lynde was famous for his caustic, off-beat wit, best displayed on talk shows and game shows. He was the centerpiece of 'Hollywood Squares' for many years.

'He was one of the funniest men on TV,' said comedian George Gobel, also a regular on the game show. 'He will be missed by everybody who likes to laugh.'

'Hollywood Squares' host Peter Marshall said Lynde looked 'wonderful' only a few weeks ago.

'He hadn't had a drink in 10 months and he was very, very happy,' Mashall said. 'Everytime I think of the squares, I'll think of the middle square where Paul sat. I'll miss him.'

Lynde was a regular cast member of the old 'Jonathan Winters Show,' 'F Troop,' 'Bewitched,' 'Dean Martin Presents' and his own short-lived 'The Paul Lynde Show.'

'Anytime you lose a funny man it's a big loss to everyone else under the tent,' Winters said. 'I think his contribution as a funnyman was as important as anyone I can think of.'

During his 30-year career, Lynde starred as the sardonic, comedic relief in such movies as 'The Glass Bottom Boat,' 'Bye Bye Birdie,' 'Under the Yum-Yum Tree,' 'Send Me No Flowers' and, most recently, in 'The Villian' with Kirk Douglas.

Lynde moved to New York to break into professional show business, working at odd jobs and selling his blood to buy food. He worked as an ambulance attendent until he saw his first corpse and quit on the spot.

He made his stage debut as a monologuist at the famed supper club, Number One Fifth Avenue, and hated it, saying 'There is no such thing as a smart nightclub audience.'

Lynde was cast in 'New Faces of 1952' on Broadway and later in the movie version. But he didn't gain stardom until 1961, when he was cast by Gower Champion in Broadway's 'Bye Bye Birdie,' followed by the movie version.

He appeared on stage in such other hits as 'Anything Goes,' 'DreamGirl,' 'Show Boat,' 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and 'Desk Set.'

After establishing himself in films and TV, Lynde averaged some 200 hours a year on television and broke many box-office records in summer stock, most notably with Elizabeth Allen in 'Plaza Suite.'

In addition to talk shows, Lynde starred in TV series roles in 'The Pruitts of Southampton' and 'The Perry Como Show.'

Lynde lived alone in his Beverly Hills home. He was never married.


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Paul Lynde's best "Hollywood Squares" zingers! ...YouTubeWednesday, February 03, 03:03:30am

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