Norm Crosby Dies: Stand-Up Comedian & “Master Of Malaprop” Was 93

Norm Crosby
THE COMEDY SHOP, Norm Crosby, 1978-83. Mega Agency

Norm Crosby, a comedian known as the “Master of Malaprop,” has died. The actor-writer, also known for appearing in a number of film titles, including Grown Ups 2, Cougar Club and Alright Already, was 93.

Crosby died of heart failure at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, THR reported.

The Master of Malaprop was born on September 15, 1927, in Boston. He kicked off his career in the 1950s on the stand-up scene. Coming up as a comedian, Crosby soon made malaprops — the intentionally mistaken use of a similar sounding word for comedy — as his signature move.

From his various appearances on the stand-up scene, Crosby expanded the reach of his career, landing spots on notable talk shows throughout the ’60s.

He first came on to the television scene by flaunting his comedy style on The Garry Moore Show, where he would make multiple appearances. Throughout the decade, Crosby continued doing sets in a number of small-screen programs, including The Jimmy Dean Show, The Hollywood Palace, George Jessel’s Here Come the Stars, The Joey Bishop Show and The Liars Club. Crosby racked up a total of 57 appearances throughout Johnny Carson’s tenure as The Tonight Show host.

The following decades brought the comedian dozens of additional guest stints on The Merv Griffin Show, Dinah! and The Mike Douglas Show. Crosby also tried his hand at writing, serving as a scribe for one episode of HBO’s TV documentary On Location.

He was a regular on NBC’s short-lived 1968 comedy-variety series The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show alongside the titular host, Rip Taylor and others.

Later in his career, Crosby continued bringing his comedy to the screen, but as characters in various titles. Starting in 1971, the comedian appeared in Adam-12 and eventually took on roles like Wally the Bartender in The Love Boat and Norm in The Boys. As the early aughts rolled around, Crosby continued to venture into new forms of entertainment, lending his voice to a number of videos and films, such as Eight Crazy Nights and Farce of the Penguins.

From 1978-81, Crosby hosted the syndicated comedy game show Norm Crosby’s Comedy Shop, which featured young and establish stand-up comics plying their trade. Among the many future stars who gotr their start on the show was a 21-year-old Brad Garrett, who said he was working as a waiter at TGI Friday’s when he saw himself on The Comedy Shop.

Crosby’s final acting credit is as a Kmart employee in Grown Ups 2. His final credit as himself was in When Jews Were Funny, a 2013 documentary from Alan Zweig.

Crosby is survived by his wife, Joan; their sons; and two grandchildren.

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