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Arte Johnson, comedian and ‘Laugh-In’ star, dies at 90

Johnson died Wednesday from a heart attack, following a three-year battle with bladder and prostate cancer.

8: Actor Arte Johnson arrives Shakespeare Festival/LA’s Simply Shakespeare 2009 “The Comedy of Errors” at The Geffen Playhouse on May 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Actor Arte Johnson arrives at Shakespeare Festival/LA’s “The Comedy of Errors” at The Geffen Playhouse on May 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Arte Johnson, the comedian who is perhaps best-known for his work on the 1960s televisoin series “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” has died. He was 90.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Johnson died Wednesday from a heart attack, following a three-year battle with bladder and prostate cancer. Johnson was diagnosed and successfully treated for non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1997.

The 5-foot-four Johnson’s most memorable characters on “Laugh-In,” for which he won an Emmy Award, included a German soldier named Wolfgang, whose catchphrase was the deliberately delivered “verrrry interesting,” and the lecherous old man on the park bench.

Johnson was born Arthur Stanton Eric Johnson in Benton Harbor, Michigan, in 1929. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1949. According to THR, He entered Austin High School at age 12 and the University of Illinois at 16, where he graduated with a major in radio journalism.

Among his many television appearances across a six-decades career, his TV roles included Samantha’s Cousin Edgar on “Bewitched,” and the “garage artist” Nicholas Minsky Pushkin on “The Partridge Family.”

His film credits include “The President’s Analyst” (1967) “Love at First Bite” (1979) and “Cannonball Run II” (1984). He retired from acting in 2007.

”I work best when I have a false nose, a false mustache, an odd costume, a piece of hair, a bone through my nose. Give me some odd, weird thing and that’s me,” he said in a 1972 interview.

Johnson is survived by his wife Gisela, and one brother.

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