Gallagher, Comedian Known for Smashing Watermelons, Dies at 76
Gallagher, the inventive prop comedian known for smashing watermelons as part of his act, died Friday of organ failure, his former manager Craig Marquardo confirmed to Variety. He was 76.
Gallagher had been in hospice care in California after suffering multiple heart attacks in recent years.
Born Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr., the mononymous comedian became a household name in 1980 with “An Uncensored Evening,” the first standup comedy special to ever air on Showtime. Gallagher would go on to create 12 more hourlong specials for the network, as well as several popular programs for HBO.
Gallagher’s signature bit involved a handmade sledgehammer he called the “Sledge-O-Matic,” which he would use to smash food onstage and spray it onto the audience. His hammer’s trademark victim was the watermelon. Gallagher also became famous for his witty wordplay and sharp observational comedy.