You young'ens might not remember Harvey Korman all that well, seeing as he hasn't popped up in any movies over the last several years, but trust me on this: He was one of the planet's funniest men. Seriously. I do believe his last appearance in cinemas was in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas -- but don't judge the man based on that. Hollywood has very little use for very old comedians, regardless of how talented they are.
Introduced to my generation as part of the Carol Burnett Show ensemble, Mr. Korman had a flawless chemistry with frequent partner Tim Conway -- but I'll always remember the man as one of Mel Brooks' most reliable go-to comics. Harvey Korman stole large scenes from Dracula: Dead and Loving It, High Anxiety, and History of the World: Part 1 -- but he delivered one of the all-time funniest supporting performances in the 1974 classic Blazing Saddles. As the perpetually befuddled villain Hedy Lamarr ("That's Hedley!"), Korman unleashed a force-of-nature comedic performance that STILL brings me to tears whenever I watch it.
Over the course of his 40-year career, Mr. Korman appeared in a wide variety of films, very few of which were actually worthy of his skills: Americathon, Herbie Goes Bananas, First Family, Trail of the Pink Panther, Curse of the Pink Panther, The Longshot, Munchies, Radioland Murders, Jingle All the Way ... you get the point. But he did play the voice of The Great Gazoo on the original Flintstones cartoon and he appeared in the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special!
But all you need to know about Harvey Korman is right there in The Carol Burnett Show and a handful of Mel Brooks movies. Just a brilliantly funny man. He died yesterday at 81 years of age. Rest in peace, Mr. Korman.