Watermelon-smashing comic Gallagher dead at 76

THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: (l-r) Comedian Gallagher during an interview with host Johnny Carson on August 3, 1978 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC via Getty Images) (NBC, 2022 NBCUniversal Media, LLC)

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Legendary comedian Gallagher, known for his watermelon-smashing stage routine, died Friday at the age of 76, CNN reports.

The comic died after “after a short health battle” and “passed away surrounded by his family in Palm Springs, California,” his manager told CNN.

Gallagher, born Leo Anthony Gallagher, Jr., became a household name in the 1980s, producing numerous specials for the Showtime television network.

He was known for using a sledgehammer called the “Sledge-O-Matic” to smash food at the end of his performances.

He was reportedly in hospice care at the time of his death.


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Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.