Benton Harbor Native, Arte Johnson of ‘Laugh-In’ Fame, Dies at 90
Arte Johnson, whose German soldier character in the 1960's hit series "Laugh-In" gave us the catch phrase "verrrrry interesting", has died at the age of 90.
"Laugh-In" producer George Schlatter said he looked for "funny and magic people" when casting the show, recalling in a 50th-anniversary interview with THR that Johnson was "selling suits" when he found him. The producer said Johnson first did the German soldier on TV during an appearance with Bob Hope, riffing on the comic's famous USO tours by coming out and saying, "'Every Christmas we waited for you.' Hope didn't know what to think of him." -CNN
Johnson, who was born in Benton Harbor, had acted in various TV shows, including the Dick Van Dyke Show and the Andy Griffith Show, but became famous on the irreverent NBC sketch comedy series that ran from 1968-1973.
In a tweet, Keith Olbermann said "Can’t overstate how big Laugh-In was: we all dissected it every Tuesday morning on the playground as we would later dissect Python".
Johnson also appeared on numerous comedic game shows such as Match Game, in the 1970's.
"his dirty old man sketch, with Ruth Buzzi, was notorious for causing his co-stars to break out laughing. (In a recent "Laugh-In" tribute that played on Netflix, Johnson was shown in outtakes making guest Don Rickles laugh so hard that he pleaded with Johnson to "give me a break.") - CNN