Patti Deutsch, a comic who was a regular on the last season of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, appeared often on the 1970s Match Game and went on to a successful voice-over career, has died. She was 73. Her family said she died Wednesday at her Los Angeles home after a long battle with cancer.
Born in Pittsburgh on December 16, 1943, Deutsch worked alongside Fred Willard in the improv troupe Ace Trucking Company in the 1960s and early ’70s. The group, which made multiple appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, also featured Bill Alsuga, who would go to be known as the “You can call me Ray” pitchman for Natural Light beer.
Deutsch’s big break came in 1972 when she was case as a regular on NBC’s politically tinged sketch series Laugh-In. But the show was past its peak as a big part of the era’s pop culture zeitgeist, and the 1972-73 season would be its last.
As that series wrapped, the nasally voiced comic and actress became a semi-regular on Match Game ’73, the Gene Rayburn-hosted daytime game show revival known for celebrities’ racy and ribald answers to the host’s questions. Deutsch was a popular draw on the show, which led to her joining the couples game show Tattletales, appearing with and her husband, writer Donald Ross (The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote).
In 1978 Deutsch was cast as a series regular opposite Jack Albertson and a post-M*A*S*H Larry Linville in Grandpa Goes to Washington. The hourlong NBC comedy featured Albertson as a forcibly retired poly sci professor with no political experience who gets elected to the U.S. Senate. The series was replaced in midseason.
By the mid-’80s, Deutsch had begun a successful second career as a voice actor on shows including The Smurfs, while continuing to guest on live-action TV series such as She’s the Sheriff and Moonlighting. She lent her voice to episodes of such ’90s toon series as Darkwing Duck and The Critters, the latter of which also featured Neil Patrick Harris and Bobcat Goldthwait.
She continued to work through the 2000s, doing voice roles in such films as Tarzan, The Emperor’s New Groove, Monsters, Inc. and Happily N’Ever After. Her final credit was a guest role in the 2013 ABC series Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23.
Deutsch is survived by Ross, her husband of nearly 40 years; sons Max Ross and Lee Sachnoff; daughter Alexis Hill; daughters-in-law Daphne King Ross, Jennifer Fedin, and Linda Yale; and grandchildren Violet Ross, Xander Fedin-Hill and Sam Sachnoff.
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