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Harry Anderson, Beloved Actor
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Harry Anderson, best known for his role as the quirky and kindhearted Judge Harry Stone on the long-running NBC sitcom "Night Court," passed away unexpectedly at his home in Asheville, North Carolina on April 16, 2018 at the age of 65.

Early Life and Education

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Harry Anderson was born on October 14, 1952 in Newport, Rhode Island to parents Harry Anderson and Suzanne Johnson. He moved around frequently during his childhood, living in various cities including Chicago, New York, St. Louis, and New Orleans. Anderson graduated as the valedictorian of North Hollywood High School in 1970. Before pursuing an acting career, he taught a course on how to detect fraudsters and confidence ("con") artists. Anderson reportedly worked as a Three-card Monte dealer in New York City for a time.
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How Harry Anderson's Career Began on the Streets of San Francisco and New Orleans

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Harry Anderson began his career as a street magician and performer, honing his skills in cities like San Francisco and New Orleans. At age 17, he moved to San Francisco and performed magic on the streets. His persona was that of "Harry the Hat", a fast-talking con man who always kept the audience on their toes. Anderson's unique blend of magic and comedy involved elaborate pranks, such as pretending to chop off his own hand to shock audiences lined up for the movie "Jaws". These early experiences as a street magician and swindler heavily influenced his later career in acting and comedy. Anderson incorporated his sleight of hand skills and magician's wit into his performances, creating a memorable style that captivated audiences.
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Harry Anderson's Iconic Role as Judge Harry Stone on NBC's Night Court (1984-1992)

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Harry Anderson's breakthrough role was as Judge Harry Stone on the hit NBC sitcom Night Court, which ran for nine seasons from 1984 to 1992. His quirky and lovable portrayal of the young, magic-loving judge dealing with the eccentric characters and cases in a Manhattan night court earned Anderson three consecutive Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series from 1985 to 1987. In addition to Night Court, Anderson had a recurring guest role as con man Harry "The Hat" Gittes on Cheers between 1982 and 1993. After Night Court ended, Anderson went on to star as Dave Barry in the CBS sitcom Dave's World from 1993 to 1997, loosely based on the life and columns of humorist Dave Barry. Anderson also appeared in numerous other television specials and shows throughout his career, including 12 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and a starring role as the adult Richie Tozier in the 1990 miniseries adaptation of Stephen King's It.
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Harry Anderson's Memorable Appearances on Saturday Night Live (1981-1985)

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Harry Anderson made eight memorable appearances on Saturday Night Live between 1981 and 1985, including hosting an episode during the show's tenth season. These appearances allowed him to showcase his distinctive blend of magic and comedy on one of television's biggest stages. In 1990, Anderson played the adult Richie Tozier in the miniseries adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel IT. He starred alongside Tim Curry, John Ritter, and Richard Thomas in the Emmy-nominated production. Anderson also performed in several magic/comedy shows made for broadcast television. In 1987, NBC aired Harry Anderson's Sideshow, an hour-long special that combined Anderson's skills as a magician and comedian. He later starred in the 1996 TV special Harry Anderson: The Tricks of His Trade, which further highlighted his talents and included bits originally developed for his stage show Wise Guy. These notable performances and contributions solidified Anderson's reputation as a uniquely talented entertainer who could captivate audiences with his wit, charm, and mastery of magic and illusion. They complemented his successful acting career and allowed him to share his lifelong passion for magic with millions of television viewers.
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Harry Anderson's Family and New Orleans

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Harry Anderson was married twice in his life. His first marriage was to Leslie Pollack in 1977. Together they had two children - a daughter named Eva Fay Anderson and a son named Dashiell Anderson - before divorcing in 1999. In 2000, Anderson married Elizabeth Morgan, with whom he remained until his death in 2018. Anderson and his second wife Elizabeth owned several properties and businesses in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where Anderson had lived and performed earlier in his career. They operated a magic and curiosity shop called Sideshow, as well as a nightclub named Oswald's Speakeasy where Anderson regularly performed his one-man show "Wise Guy". In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Andersons made the decision to leave the city and relocate. In 2006, they sold their New Orleans home and businesses and moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where they remained until Anderson's passing in 2018 at the age of 65.
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Remembering a Beloved Entertainer

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Harry Anderson passed away on April 16, 2018 at his home in Asheville, North Carolina at the age of 65. His death was met with an outpouring of tributes from friends, colleagues, and fans who remembered him for his warmth, wit, and talent. Anderson's "Night Court" co-stars were among those who expressed their grief and paid tribute to the late actor. Marsha Warfield, who played bailiff Roz Russell on the show, tweeted "Oh, no! Aw man, I'm so sorry to hear this. My condolences to his family, friends, fans and everyone who loved him. Rest in peace, Harry the Hat, you were my friend." John Larroquette, who starred as prosecutor Dan Fielding, simply wrote "Heartsick." Markie Post called Anderson's death "devastating." Comedians, magicians, and others in the entertainment industry also mourned his passing and celebrated his legacy. Neil Patrick Harris called Anderson "one of my comedy and magic inspirations growing up." Judd Apatow recalled interviewing Anderson as a teen and shared "He was a one of a kind talent who made millions so happy." Anderson's unique combination of magic and comedy made him a beloved figure whose loss was felt deeply. His memorable television roles and stage performances left a lasting impact and endeared him to multiple generations of fans.
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