Harry Anderson

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Harry Anderson
Harry Anderson.jpg
Anderson at the 1988 Emmy Awards
Harry Laverne Anderson

(1952-10-14)October 14, 1952
DiedApril 16, 2018(2018-04-16) (aged 65)
OccupationActor, comedian, magician
Years active1978–2014
  • Leslie Pollack
    (m. 1977;div. 1999)
  • Elizabeth Morgan
    (m. 2000)

Harry Laverne Anderson (October 14, 1952 – April 16, 2018) was an American actor, comedian and magician. He is best known for his lead role of Judge Harry Stone on the 1984–1992 television series Night Court . He later starred in the sitcom Dave's World from 1993 to 1997.


In addition to eight appearances on Saturday Night Live between 1981 and 1985, Anderson had a recurring guest role as con man Harry "The Hat" Gittes on Cheers . He toured extensively as a magician, and did several magic/comedy shows for broadcast, including Harry Anderson's Sideshow (1987). He played Richie Tozier in the 1990 miniseries It , based on the Stephen King novel of the same name.

Early life

Anderson was born October 14, 1952, in Newport, Rhode Island. [2] He spent much of his youth performing magic on the streets of Chicago, New York, St. Louis and New Orleans before landing in California at the age of 16. [3] [4] After moving to Los Angeles, [4] he joined the Dante Magic Club and worked as a street magician in San Francisco when he was 17. [5] He attended Buena Park High School before graduating from North Hollywood High School in 1970 as class valedictorian. [6] [1] From 1971 to 1976 he lived in Ashland, Oregon, performing magic and working with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. [7] [8]


Anderson's many appearances on Saturday Night Live led to his role as Harry "The Hat" Gittes on several seasons of the television sitcom Cheers , and eventually as Judge Harry Stone on the sitcom Night Court. [9] He went on to appear in other television specials and shows, including 12 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson . [10] As a magician, Anderson toured extensively and performed in comedy/magic shows for clubs and broadcast, including Harry Anderson's Sideshow in 1987. [4] In 1990, he starred in the television adaptation of Stephen King's It as the adult Richie Tozier. [11] From 1993 to 1997, he starred in the television sitcom Dave's World , based loosely on the life and columns of humorist Dave Barry. [12]

Anderson with his first wife, Leslie Pollack, at the 39th Primetime Emmy Awards, September 1987 Harry Anderson and guest.jpg
Anderson with his first wife, Leslie Pollack, at the 39th Primetime Emmy Awards, September 1987

Together with longtime friend Turk Pipkin, Anderson wrote a book called Games You Can't Lose: A Guide for Suckers, a collection of gags, cons, tricks and scams. [9] First published in 1989 ( ISBN   978-1-58080-086-0, 2001 reprint), it also contains a survey of "Games You Can't Win" told from an insider's perspective. [13] He appeared with Criss Angel in a TV special called The Science of Magic, later released on DVD. [14]

In 2000 Anderson hosted the pilot for a potential revival of the panel game show What's My Line? for CBS primetime. [13]

He moved from Pasadena, California, to New Orleans in 2002. [9] In 2002, he and his second wife, Elizabeth, whom he met in New Orleans while she was bartending, [15] opened a small shop in the French Quarter named "Spade & Archer Curiosities by Appointment" (later named "Sideshow"), [16] selling various "magic, curiosities, and apocrypha". [15]

In 2005 Anderson opened a nightclub in the French Quarter, Oswald's Speakeasy, at 1331 Decatur Street at the corner of Esplanade Avenue. [17] He performed a one-man show there called Wise Guy. [18]

Anderson appeared in Hexing a Hurricane , a documentary about the first six months in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. [9] [19] He and his wife sold Oswald's Speakeasy in October 2006. [19] He continued to present his evening show Wise Guy, originally developed for his theater in New Orleans. [19]

In November 2008, Anderson played himself on an episode of 30 Rock, along with fellow former Night Court cast members Markie Post and Charles Robinson. [20]

In his final years, Anderson appeared in television comedy series such as Comedy Bang! Bang! (2013) and Gotham Comedy Live (2014). [21] His final film portrayal was as Professor Kaman in the 2014 Christian drama film A Matter of Faith . [22]

Personal life

Anderson was a longtime fan of singer Mel Tormé, and his character Judge Stone on Night Court was also a Tormé fan; the singer appeared on the sitcom six times. [10] Night Court creator Reinhold Weege said that Anderson and his character both being Tormé fans was completely coincidental. [23] Anderson was among those who delivered eulogies at the singer's funeral in 1999. [24]

Anderson was married twice. [25] In 1977 he married Leslie Pollack (b. 1953) having two children, a daughter, Eva Fay Anderson and a son, Dashiell Anderson before divorcing in 1999. [26] In 2000 he married Elizabeth Morgan (b. 1973). In 2006, Anderson and his wife moved from New Orleans to Asheville, North Carolina. [19]


In late January 2018, Anderson had a bout of influenza, and subsequently suffered several strokes. On April 16, 2018, he died in his sleep of a stroke due to influenza and heart disease at his home in Asheville, North Carolina, at the age of 65. [27] [5] [9] [10]



1982 The Escape Artist Harry Masters [28]
1988 She's Having a Baby Harry AndersonUncredited
2006 Hexing a Hurricane Himself [19]
2014 A Matter of Faith Professor Kaman [22]


1981–1985 Saturday Night Live Himself8 episodes [10]
1982–1993 Cheers Harry "The Hat" Gittes6 episodes [9]
1984–1992 Night Court Judge Harold "Harry" T. Stone193 episodes; also occasional director and writer
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1984–86) [4] [28]
1985 Tales from the Darkside LeonEpisode: "All a Clone by the Telephone" [29]
1986Vanishing AmericaDog OwnerShort Television Film
1988 Tanner '88 Billy Ridenhour2 episodes [21]
1988Spies, Lies & Naked ThighsFreddieTV Movie [30]
1988 D.C. Follies Harry Anderson01 Episode
1988 The Absent-Minded Professor Professor Henry CrawfordMovie (remake) [31]
1990 Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme Peter Piper TV Movie [21]
1990 It Richie Tozier Miniseries [29]
1990 Tales from the Crypt Jim KormanEpisode: "Korman's Kalamity" [29]
1992 Parker Lewis Can't Lose Ronny Ray RasmussenEpisode: "Glory Daze" [21]
1993–1997 Dave's World Dave Barry98 episodes [5]
1994 Hearts Afire Dave BarryEpisode: "Sleepless in a Small Town" [5]
1996 Night Stand with Dick Dietrick HarryEpisode: "UFO Mother Show" [32]
1996 The John Larroquette Show Dr. GatesEpisode: "Cosmetic Perjury" [33]
1996 Harvey Elwood P. DowdTV Movie (remake) [34]
1997 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Dr. Klaus "Fat Head" MensaEpisode: "The Family Hour" [35]
1998 Noddy Jack FableEpisode: "The Magic Show" [34]
2002 Son of the Beach Bull CrackerEpisode: "The Long Hot Johnson" [10]
2008 30 Rock HimselfEpisode: "The One with the Cast of Night Court" [34]
2013 Comedy Bang! Bang! HimselfEpisode: "Rainn Wilson Wears a Short Sleeved Plaid Shirt & Colorful Sneakers" [33]
2014Gotham Comedy LiveHimselfEpisode: "Harry Anderson" [36]

Video games

1997 Nightmare Ned Graveyard Shadow Creature / Grampa Ted NeedlemeyerVoice
Books, magazines, and publications
1982Wenii: The Intentional Confusers' MagazineA spoof on the magic magazine
Genii: The Conjurers' Magazine
1989Harry Anderson's Games You Can't Lose: A Guide For Suckers ISBN   978-0671647278
1993Harry Anderson: Wise Guy From The Street To The Screen ISBN   978-0915181254
2001Games You Can't Lose: A Guide For Suckers ISBN   978-1580800860

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