Harry Anderson, "Night Court" actor who bottled magic on screen and turned off, dies at age 65

"Night Court" was nominated for 31 Emmy Awards and won seven. John Larroquette, Markie Post, Richard Moll, Charles Robinson and Marsha Warfield starred with Mr. Anderson.

Judge Harry Stone shared more than a name with the actor who played it: both the character and the man dressed in colorful ribbons, magicians in the background and superfans of the great jazz Mel Tormé, known as Velvet Fog, who He made several special appearances on "Night Court". Anderson was praised at Mr. Tormé's funeral in 1999.

While earning critical acclaim and amassing a devoted fan base in "Night Court," Mr. Anderson never believed himself an actor. "I'm a magician, or a performer, by nature, and that's always what I've been," Mr. Anderson told WGN-TV in Chicago in 2014.

"I was never really an actor," He said. . "I was a magician who fell into a part in" Cheers ".

His role as swindler Harry (the Hat) Gittes in "Cheers" – appeared in six episodes, four in the first two seasons – led to his break in "Night Court" after impressing the legendary television executive Brandon Tartikoff .

Even Harry the Hat echoed Mr. Anderson's real life. In 1985, he told People magazine that he used to run a street classic, the shell game, in San Francisco, where, at 21 years of age, his jaw was broken by an opponent who was livid with the result of the game. [19659008] Sir. Anderson, one of three children, was born on October 14, 1952, in Newport, Rhode Island, and spent much of his childhood on the move, often performing on the streets for money, he told People. At age 16, he had lived in many cities, including Chicago, New York, St. Louis, and New Orleans. He landed in California at age 16 and from there he found success as a comic magician, which opened the door to his acting career.

About his mother, he told People: "She was a scammer, yes." She did many things. We moved a lot, and she had many male friends. "

However, her childhood was not bad, she said, adding that her dubious background should not look different from her mother's." I respect my mother; She was very concerned about taking care of us, "she said." She did what had to be done to try to keep us together. People think that my criminal days are fun, but they consider their past to be shocking. I do not draw any lines. "

Mr. Anderson told People that his father was a seller who was mostly absent from his life, and that he had not seen him for 15 years before his death.

Mr. Anderson is survived by his wife, the former Elizabeth Morgan, and two children from his first marriage, with Leslie Pollack: Eva Fay Anderson and Dashiell Anderson, information about other survivors was not immediately available.

Before "Night Court" "Mr. Anderson appeared on" Saturday Night Live "several times and received the show at the height of his fame in 1985.

After" Night Court, "he played columnist Dave Barry in the comedy" Dave & # 39; s World ", which aired on CBS from 1993 to 1997. In 2008, it appeared in an episode of" 30 Rock "entitled" The One With the Cast of & # 39; Night Court. "

In 2000, Mr. Anderson and his wife, Elizabeth, moved to New Orleans, eager to return to their roots. They opened the nightclub Oswald & # 39; s Speakeasy, where he performed, as well as a store of magic and curiosity, Sideshow.

However, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, tourism stopped and they could not keep their businesses alive.

Andersons discussed their decision with The New York Times in 2006, the year they moved to Asheville.

"Last night I had more people in my car," Mr. Anderson said, referring to the thin crowd at Oswald & # 39; s. [19659020] He and his wife had also become captives of the depression that hit many in New Orleans at the time, Anderson said. Despite efforts to support his community, Mr. Anderson opened his club for what he called meetings of the French Quarter Town Hall and, to maintain their business, they decided to leave him.

"I'm glad we tried to stay," he said. he said: "but I do not want to be the person I will be if I stay here"

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