Arte Johnson, Master of Characters on ‘Laugh-In’, dies aged 90

Arte Johnson, best known for creating hilarious characters for NBC’s 1960s show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, has died aged 90.

According to reports, Johnson passed away on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Johnson had been battling bladder and prostate cancer for three years, though heart failure is believed to be the cause of death.

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Many fans will remember Johnson from the hilarious characters he was able to conjure and portray. The most famous of them may well be “Wolfgang”, a cigarette-loving German soldier who believed World War II was still going on.

Yet perhaps Johnson’s most impressive facet was his dexterity when it came to humor. He boasted a repertoire of over 60 different characters, each one of them possessive of their own quirks and differences.

In a 1974 interview, he said: “Humor for me consists in incongruity. If I were doing a Hasidic rabbi, I’d have him speak with an Irish accent. … You take it out of reality and make it cartoon-esque without being denigrating. Because people today are so sensitive, it’s the only way of creating humor without offending someone.”

Johnson went on to win an Emmy for his work with the Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In show in 1969, though left soon after as he believed the demanding workload didn’t give him time enough to focus on other things.

Watch Johnson in action in the clip below:

Rest in peace, Arte Johnson. Thanks for the laughs and all the great memories!

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