Legendary Comedian Gallagher Dead At 76

By Jason Hall

November 11, 2022

Gallagher Performs At The Rosemont Horizon
Photo: Getty Images

Legendary comedian Gallagher, known famously for smashing watermelons and other objects with his "Sledge-O-Matic" oversized mallet during his routine, has died at the age of 76, his longtime manager confirmed to TMZ.

The comedian, born Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr., died from massive organ failure while under hospice care in the Palm Springs area early Friday (November 11) morning, having suffered multiple heart attacks in recent years, his manager confirmed.

"Gallagher stayed on the road touring America for decades. He was pretty sure he held a record for the most stand-up dates, by attrition alone," a representative for the comedian told TMZ on Friday. "While Gallagher had his detractors, he was an undeniable talent and an American success story."

Gallagher began his standup career at the legendary venues The Comedy Store and The Ice House before making his first appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in December 1975.

The prop comedian became one of comedy's most recognizable figures during the 1980s amid a run that included 15 specials for Showtime.

Gallagher is best known for his Sledge-O-Matic routine, which parodies the famous Veg-O-Matic commercials and has the comedian give his sales pitch for the oversized mallet while destroying fruits -- most notably watermelon -- and other household objects.

The comedian also made numerous appearances on Hollywood Squares and other television programs and was recently portrayed by comedian Paul F. Tompkins in the recently released parody biopic film Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.

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