ASHEVILLE, N.C. (UPI) — Night Court actor Harry Anderson died at his home in North Carolina Monday morning at the age of 65.
Asheville Police Department responded to Anderson’s home and found him dead at 6:41 a.m., Public Affairs officer Christina Hallingse told The Hollywood Reporter.
The cause of death wasn’t disclosed, but Hallingse said no foul play was suspected.
Anderson was born Oct. 14, 1952 in Newport, R.I., but later moved to Los Angeles, Calif., where he was drawn to the art of magic.
He performed as a street magician in San Francisco when he was 17 and also appearing at clubs like Dante Magic Club and the Magic Castle under the stage name “Harry the Hat,” in reference to the trademark fedora he wore on stage.
Anderson made multiple appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Saturday Night Live, before landing a recurring role on Cheers as a grifter named Harry the Hat.
His time on Cheers eventually led Anderson to his most recognizable role, starring as Judge Harry Stone on Night Court beginning in 1984.
“I guess they figured I was an actor,” Anderson said of getting the role. “I never auditioned for anything. I had the scripts next to me behind the bench. They named the character Harry so I’d remember to react when someone said my name. By the time they figured out that I couldn’t act scared on the subway at 4 a.m., I already had a five-year contract.”
Anderson earned three Emmy nominations for his portrayal of the wise-cracking judge throughout the show’s nine seasons and was honored as Magician of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts in 1988.
Following his time on Night Court, Anderson starred as Pulitzer Prize-winning Miami Herald humor columnist Dave Barry on the CBS sitcom Dave’s World.
Actor and writer Judd Apatow tweeted in reverence of Anderson, recalling a meeting they had in his youth.
“I interviewed Harry Anderson when I was 15 years old and he was so kind, and frank and hilarious. The interview is in my book Sick In The Head. He was a one of a kind talent who made millions so happy,” Apatow wrote.
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