'Laugh-In' star Arte Johnson, famous for playing Wolfgang on the show, dies aged 90
Johnson made waves for his catchphrase "Verrry interesting" on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In." He's also appeared on numerous TV shows.
Actor Arte Johnson, who won an Emmy for comedy sketch work on the television show 'Laugh-In,' died in Los Angeles Wednesday. He was 90. Family representative Harlan Boll said Johnson died early Wednesday of heart failure following a three-year battle with bladder and prostate cancer.
No services have been planned, but his ashes will be spread in a private ceremony. Johnson became known for his catchphrase "Verrry interesting" on 'Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.' The Michigan native won an Emmy in 1969 and was nominated two more times through his work on the hit show. One of his characters was Wolfgang, a cigarette-smoking German soldier who thought World War II was still going on.
Johnson's other television appearances include 'Bewitched', 'The Partridge Family', 'Lost in Space' and 'The Donna Reed Show.' According to CNN, Johnson spent four seasons on 'Laugh-In' and later appeared in comic TV roles. George Schlatter, the producer of 'Laugh-In' in an interview with THR, said he was looking for "funny" and "magic people" while casting for the show and that was when he found Johnson "selling suits".
The producer said Johnson first did the German soldier on TV during an appearance with Bob Hope, riffing on the comic's famous USO tours. Johnson was born in Michigan and kickstarted his acting career on Broadway before moving to Los Angeles in the 1950s.
He started off by performing in New York nightclubs before being cast in 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' onstage. According to Variety, he appeared in series including 'Sally' and 'Hennessy,' as well as in 'The Twilight Zone' episode 'The Whole Truth' as a car salesman who punches a used car lot owner.
Over the course of his illustrious career, he also appeared in game shows such as 'The Match Game', 'Wheel of Fortune' and 'The Gong Show', guested on 'Murder She Wrote' and Night Court' and as well as on 'General Hospital.' In addition, he also did extensive voice work for cartoons including 'Justice League Unlimited,' 'The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo', 'DuckTales', 'Animaniacs' and numerous audiobooks.
Johnson is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Gisela Johnson.
With inputs from AP