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Tom Smothers, One Half Of Famous Comedy Duo, Dies At 86

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  • Tom Smothers has died at the age of 86.
  • He is best known as being one half of the famous comedy duo, the Smothers Brothers.
  • They rose to fame for their musical comedy talents.

 

It has been reported that Tom Smothers, who is one half of the singing comedy duo the Smothers Brothers, had died at the age of 86. The sad news was confirmed in a family statement by the National Comedy Center.

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Dick Smothers, Tom’s younger brother and professional partner, confirmed that the death was related to cancer. “Tom was not only the loving older brother that everyone would want in their life, he was a one-of-a-kind creative partner,” he said.

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Remembering Tom Smothers of the Smothers Brothers

The Smothers Brothers, from left: Tommy Smothers, Dick Smothers, circa 1960s.

The statement continues, “I am forever grateful to have spent a lifetime together with him, on and off stage, for over 60 years. Our relationship was like a good marriage – the longer we were together, the more we loved and respected one another. We were truly blessed.”

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The Smothers Brothers, from left: Dick Smothers, Tommy Smothers, July 1965. ph: Ivan Nagy / TV Guide / courtesy Everett Collection

Leading their CBS variety show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour from 1967 to 1969, the Smothers Brothers became notable figures in television history. The show was abruptly removed from CBS’s programming due to the brothers’ controversial stance on several issues. Their vocal political opinions, staunch support for civil rights, and criticism of the Vietnam War led to conflicts with the network and censorship authorities.

Reflecting on the incident decades later, Tom Smothers expressed lingering frustration. “Fifty years later I look back on us being fired and I’m still pissed off,” he commented, eliciting laughter during a 2019 interview featured on “All Arts TV.”

The Smothers Brothers, from left: Tommy Smothers, Dick Smothers, The Los Vegas Hilton, circa 2002. ph: Pasha Rafat / TV Guide / courtesy Everett Collection

Additionally, in an interview with CBS, Tom said he and his brother never thought of themselves as comedians, but rather as just folk singers. Having initially gained television fame through their musical talents, the Smothers Brothers saw their comedy show quickly rise in popularity, surpassing the ratings of the well-known series “Bonanza.” This success then led to the launch of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

Reflecting on this achievement, Dick Smothers shared with CBS News, “It was the biggest thrill, it was unbelievable!”

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