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Watermelon-Smashing Comedian Gallagher Dead at 76

Watermelon-Smashing Comedian Gallagher Dead at 76

Gallagher in 2013 (Image: Gabe Ginsberg)
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CALIFORNIA (CelebrityAccess) – The prop comedian known for smashing watermelons with his “Sledge-O-Matic,” Gallagher passed away today (November 11). TMZ reports that the comedian was under hospice care after suffering numerous heart attacks over the past few years. His actual cause of death was massive organ failure as reported by his manager. He was 76.

The manager told TMZ, “Gallagher stayed on the road touring America for decades. He was pretty sure he held a record for the most stand-up dates, by attrition alone,” adding, “While Gallagher had his detractors, he was an undeniable talent and an American success story.”

Born Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr., the comedian began his career with An Uncensored Evening, the first standup comedy show to air on Showtime. During his career, he would have 17 televised specials and several programs for HBO. He also appeared in episodes of Hollywood Squares, WTF with Marc Maron, and Celebrity Big Brother.

He was known for his play on words but it was his “Sledge-O-Matic” bit that put his name and career on the map. It involved a handmade sledgehammer which he would use to smash different objects and food items onstage as it sprayed into the audience. He would always end the bit using the sledgehammer to obliterate a large watermelon. He was a touring machine, staying on the road on and off for nearly 40 years – right up until the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2011 he collapsed onstage while in the Midwest and suffered a heart attack in Texas minutes before being scheduled to hit the stage. So, he embarked on one last tour in 2019 and called it the “Last Smash”, before officially retiring.

Gallagher is survived by his daughter Aimee and his son Barnaby.

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