Watermelon-Smashing Comedian Gallagher Dies At Age 76

  • Comedian Gallagher died at the age of 76 on November 11
  • He had suffered several health scares over the years, including a heart attack and collapsing on stage
  • The comedian was known for the Sledge-O-Matic, which he used to smash watermelons during his sketches


At the age of 76, comedian Gallagher has died. News of his passing comes from his longtime manager, who shared an update with TMZ. The comedian had reportedly been under hospice care when he suffered from massive organ failure this Friday, November 11. Before this, he had suffered multiple heart attacks over the years.


Born as Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr., he was a celebrated comedian who frequented several HBO specials. He was known for his observational comedy and for frequently smashing watermelons as part of his act; this in turn led to several spoof patents like the Sledge-O-Matic.


The iconic comedy of Gallagher

Gallagher shows off the Sledge-O-Matic / YouTube screenshot

Born on July 24, 1946, Gallagher traveled with comedian and songwriter Jim Stafford as his manager in ’69, beginning his foray into comedy. He broke out on his own and fine-tuned his craft at The Comedy Store in California. He quickly incorporated the Sledge-O-Matic as part of his routines, comedically pitching the product for smashing watermelons, effectively creating a splash zone for front-row audience members. Sometimes racial stereotypes permeated his shows, which received backlash.

He continued touring for decades, even after multiple health scares / Wikimedia Commons

RELATED: In Memoriam—People We’ve Lost In 2021

History was made by Gallagher in 1980 with the program, “An Uncensored Evening.” This was Showtime’s very first standup comedy special. 12 more specials, each an hour long, followed, all generated by the watermelon-smashing comedian, for Showtime. He also generated programs for HBO.

Historic happenings

His manager, Craig Marquardo, says Gallagher was always most proud of sketches involving the Sledge-O-Matic, explaining, “That was something else he liked to claim credit for, which was physically engaging the audience in that manner.” An obituary composed by Marquardo notes that while his peers often pursued TV shows, Gallagher stayed touring, the better to continue that physical engagement with the audience. He had not even been stopped by a 2011 health scare or a 2012 heart attack and continued doing so until the pandemic.

This resulted in four decades of touring, with a career filled by 3,500 live shows. His first movie was The Book of Daniel and 2019 saw him embark on a farewell tour called “Last Smash.” He is survived by his son Barnaby and daughter Aimee.

Comedian Gallagher / YouTube screenshot

RELATED: Family Of Gilbert Gottfried Releases Video Of Comedian In His Final Hours

Show comments
Published by

Recent Posts

Meet Liam Neeson’s Two Children With Late Wife, Natasha Richardson

Liam Neeson is an Irish actor who is popular for his role in Steven Spielberg's…

1 hour ago

Susan Sarandon Defends Parenting Style After Her Daughter Calls Childhood A “Circus”

Life in the limelight can be very different not just for the primary famous individual…

11 hours ago

Television Icon And ‘Laverne & Shirley’ Star Cindy Williams Dies At 75

Actress Cindy Williams died on January 25 at the age of 75. Her passing follows…

13 hours ago

Woman Discovers She Married Her Cousin While Searching For Baby Names On The Internet

Recently, a TikToker, Marcella Hill posted a video where she detailed an unpleasant story that…

13 hours ago

Bed Bath & Beyond Says It Cannot Pay Its Debts Any Longer As Stores Close

Bed Bath & Beyond, founded in 1971, has reached another somber milestone in its financial…

15 hours ago

Harrison Ford Congratulates ‘Indiana Jones’ Co-Star Ke Huy Quan On Oscar Nomination

Harrison Ford is one proud friend. He recently congratulated his former co-star Ke Huy Quan…

15 hours ago