Gallagher, who was known for crushing watermelons, died Friday from injuries sustained during the ritual, his former manager Craig Marquardo confirmed. Difference. He was 76.
Gallagher was in hospice care in California after suffering multiple heart attacks in recent years.
Born Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr., the eponymous comedian is He became a household name in 1980 with “Night Without Censorship,” his first sitcom on Showtime. Gallagher would go on to create 12 hour-long specials for the network and several popular programs for HBO.
Gallagher’s signature bit, which he calls the “Sledge-O-Matic,” involves a hand-made hammer that smashes food on stage and sprays it into the audience. The hammer’s trademark victim was a watermelon. Gallagher is also famous for his witty wordplay and lighthearted jokes.
While his contemporaries have gone on to star in talk shows or sitcoms or movies, Gallagher has been on the road in America for nearly four decades, touring constantly until the COVID-19 pandemic and playing more than 3,500 live shows throughout his career. In later years, Gallagher directed a long-running Geico commercial and appeared in the first film, “The Book of Daniel.” In the year In 2019, he embarked on a farewell tour titled “The Final Crash”.
In the year In the early 1990s, Gallagher licensed his brother Ron Gallagher to do shows using the “Sledge-O-Matic” routine, with promotional material clearly stating that it was Ron, not Leo, who was performing. Several years later, Ron began marketing his act as Gallagher Two or Gallagher Two, and in some cases it was not made clear that he was not actually the original Gallagher. Leo asked Ron to stop working on the “Sledge-O-Matic” design, but his brother continued with his regular work. In the year In 2000, Leo sued his brother for trademark infringement and false advertising, and the courts issued an injunction restraining Ron from engaging in any impersonation of Leo or intentionally impersonating him.
In the early ’90s, Gallagher was sued by a woman named Robin Vann over injuries she sustained on his show. In seeking $100,000 in damages, Gallagher later broke the prop that hit her, claiming Van suffered a head injury that caused her to miss six months of work. The court again sided with Gallagher.
Later in his career, Gallagher faced accusations of racism and homophobia for his performance, with some venues even canceling his shows. In his now-infamous “WTF” podcast, Marc Maron clashed with Gallagher on the theory that the act was degrading. On the podcast, Gallagher doubles down on the offensive material and eventually walks out of the interview.
In his statement Difference“While Gallagher had his detractors, he was an undeniable talent and an American success story,” Marquardo wrote of his former client.