Updated December 28th, 2023 at 10:37 IST

Tom Smothers, half of comedic duo Smothers Brothers, dies at 86

Tom Smothers, half of the Smothers Brothers, has died at 86. He died on Tuesday at his home in Santa Rosa, California, following a cancer battle.

Tom Smothers | Image:X
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Tom Smothers, half of the Smothers Brothers and the co-host of one of the most socially conscious and groundbreaking television shows in the history of the medium, has died at 86. The National Comedy Center, on behalf of his family, said in a statement Wednesday that Smothers died Tuesday at home in Santa Rosa, California, following a cancer battle.

Tom Smothers | Image: X

 

Tom Smothers's family shares a statement

“I’m just devastated,” his brother and the duo’s other half, Dick Smothers, told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday. “Every breath I’ve taken, my brother’s been around.”

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When “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” debuted on CBS in the fall of 1967 it was an immediate hit, to the surprise of many who had assumed the network’s expectations were so low it positioned their show opposite the top-rated “Bonanza.”

Tom Smothers | Image: X

 

About Smothers Brothers

The Smothers Brothers would prove a turning point in television history, with its sharp eye for pop culture trends and young rock stars such as the Who and Buffalo Springfield, and its daring sketches — ridiculing the Establishment, railing against the Vietnam War and portraying members of the era’s hippie counterculture as gentle, fun-loving spirits — found an immediate audience with young baby boomers.

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Tom Smothers | Image: X

 

“We were moderate. We were never out there,” Dick Smothers said. “But we were the first people through that door. It just sort of crept in as the ‘60s crept in. We were part of that generation.”

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The show reached No. 16 in the ratings in its first season. It also drew the ire of network censors. After years of battling with the brothers over the show’s creative content, the network abruptly canceled the program in 1970, accusing the siblings of failing to submit an episode in time for the censors to review.

Nearly 40 years later, when Smothers was awarded an honorary Emmy for his work on the show, he jokingly thanked the writers he said had gotten him fired. He also showed that the years had not dulled his outspokenness.

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Smothers married three times and had three children. He is survived by his wife Marcy, children Bo and Riley Rose, and brother Dick, in addition to other relatives. He was predeceased by his son Tom and sister Sherry.

(With inputs from AP)

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Published December 28th, 2023 at 10:37 IST