TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Comedian Leo Gallagher, who made watermelon smashing his signature sketch, has died at the age of 76, CNN reported.
According to CNN Entertainment, Gallagher’s longtime manager, Craig Marquardo, said the comedian died Friday morning while in hospice care in Palm Springs, Calif. Marquardo said the comedian had health issues before he died.
Born in Fort Bragg, N.C., Gallagher and his family eventually made their way to Tampa.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the comedian attended Plant High School, where he got kicked out on his last day of senior year, and attended the University of South Florida.
In a 1996 interview with the Times, Gallagher said he “had a ball” during his time in Tampa Bay.
After graduating college, Gallagher decided to be a standup comedian — becoming a household name after appearing on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” in 1975, according to TMZ.
The comedian’s signature skit was a business pitch for the “Sledge-O-Matic,” a giant mallet that he would use to smash food items, particularly watermelons.
Gallagher’s bio on his website said he had numerous TV specials and 3,500 live shows under his belt as a comedy legend. His special “An Uncensored Evening” was the first stand-up special to air on cable television.
The comedian’s family was with him when he died, according to his manager.