One of the beloved original regulars on NBC’s late 1960s Monday night hit that became a cultural phenomenon, "Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In," has died.
Alan Sues, 85, "died Thursday night [Dec. 1, 2011] while watching television at his home in West Hollywood, said Michael Gregg Michaud, a longtime friend," reports the Los Angeles Times.
"During his time on the show from 1968 to 1972, Sues played the recurring characters Big Al, the effeminate sportscaster, who’d ring a small bell on his desk and exclaim, ‘Oh … my tinkle … my tinkle … I looove my tinkle’; and Uncle Al the Kiddies’ Pal, the perpetually hung-over children’s show host. (‘Oh, Uncle Al had a lot of medicine last night, boys and girls.’)," the article says.
"Laugh-In" icon Ruth Buzzi paid Sues this high compliment: "[He] was the funniest person that I ever worked with," the story adds.
Says the article, "Michaud said Sues was gay but not publicly because he feared it would ruin his career. ‘He had a ton of gay fans,’ said Michaud. ‘They all said he was one of the very few gay sort of characters that they saw on television at that time. They identified with him, and they were thankful. As he got older, it meant more to him and he was appreciative of that.’ "
The article adds that "During his years on ‘Laugh-In,’ Sues became the spokesman for Peter Pan Peanut Butter and appeared in numerous TV commercials and print ads in which he portrayed an outrageously flamboyant Peter."
Sues is the fifth cast member of the show’s first season in 1968 who has died. The others who have passed away are hosts Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, regular Henry Gibson and the lesser-known "Pigmeat" Markham.