‘Hee Haw’ Cast Member Gordie Tapp Dead at 94
Gordie Tapp, who played the role of Cousin Clem on the televised comedy show Hee Haw, has died. He was 94.
The beloved actor and Canadian radio broadcaster passed away on Dec. 18 in a hospital in Canada surrounded by family and friends. He was performing up to a month before his death, working on cruise ships and doing charity shows as well as visiting retirement homes where he performed for residents, CBC News reports.
Tapp began his long career as a radio broadcaster with his show, What's on Tapp. He eventually switched from jazz to country when his director, Tommy Darling, decided to build a country show and asked him to join. Main Street Jamboree was soon born and aired on radio and television, allowing Tapp the chance to showcase his comedy.
In 1956 Tapp joined CBC's Country Hoedown, which ran until 1965. It was there that he created the character Cousin Clem. After 13 years, Tapp found himself in Nashville to work for the CBS Television show Hee Haw, which ran until 1993, marking the longest running country variety show in U.S. history. His character Cousin Clem joined him and lived on long after the show ceased production.
According to the CBC, Tapp spent his time performing and working for humanitarian organizations upon the show's end. He was recognized for his charitable work in 1998 when he was awarded the Order of Canada. He also became a member of the Canadian Country Music Association Hall of Fame.
Tapp lived in a retirement home in Burlington, Ontario with his wife, Helen, up until his death. He is survived by Helen and his three children, Jeoff, Kate and Joan.
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