'Night Court' Star Harry Anderson Dies at 65

Kelvin Reese
April 17, 2018

Actor Harry Anderson, best known as the star of the sitcom Night Court, died at the age of 65 on Monday morning in Asheville, North Carolina.

Asheville Police told the station that no foul play was suspected in his death.

Harry Anderson at Comic Relief in Universal City, California, in March 1986.

Set during the night shift of a municipal court in New York City, Anderson's iconic character was a young, wacky and unorthodox judge who presided over cases tried by several idiosyncratic public defenders - played by Paula Kelly, Ellen Foley and Markie Post - as well as the narcissistic prosecutor, Dan Fielding, played by John Larroquette in what turned out to be his career-making role. He also starred in a TV-adaption of Stephen King's, It.

The 1980s sitcom ran for nine seasons on NBC and earned seven Emmy Awards and 31 nominations, including three for Anderson. Harry the Hat, meanwhile, returned occasionally to "Cheers", explaining his extended absences with throwaway lines like "Two to 10, with time off for good behavior".

Following his role as lovable Judge Stone, Anderson took up the part of columnist Dave Barry in the CBS comedy Dave's World.

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Anderson has said he never sought to be an actor.

Anderson logged a guest shot in FX's "Son of the Beach" in 2002 and a 2008 appearance on NBC's "30 Rock".

A 2006 New York Times article said Anderson and his wife, Elizabeth Morgan, also opened Oswald's Speakeasy, a nightclub in the French Quarter where Anderson would perform his one-man show 'Wise Guy'.

Anderson sold his home in Pasadena, Calif., and moved back to New Orleans, where he had lived in the 1970s. He made several appearances on "Saturday Night Live" around this time.

Anderson had a devoted following among fellow performers. The interview is in my book Sick In The Head. He described Anderson as "this demented, semi-famous magician whom I happened to find hilarious".

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