Harry Laverne Anderson (October 14, 1952 – April 16, 2018) was a professional magician and actor. He was born 14 October 1952, in Newport, Rhode Island. He moved to Los Angeles and attended North Hollywood High School, where he graduated as class valedictorian in 1970.
As a child, he became deeply interested in magic, and studied it through his teenage years. He began performing magic as early as 17 years old. After graduating high school he began doing magic shows. He also became an expert on confidence tricks.
He appeared several times on television as a magician, but the appearance that got him noticed for Cheers was on Saturday Night Live, starting in 1981. He displayed a trick there of his own invention, where he stuck a needle through the skin in his forearm.
In 1984, he began starring in his own series, "Night Court", the show for which he is best remembered as an actor. He played the role of Judge Harold T. Stone, a character that had many similarities to Harry Anderson. The show ran for eight seasons, with many of the episodes airing on Thursday nights on NBC, immediately following "Cheers". Anderson earned three straight Emmy nominations for lead actor in a comedy series, competing against Ted Danson all three years. However, he did return to Cheers to reprise his role of Harry twice more, once each in the sixth and eleventh seasons.
He also landed a starring role in the series "Dave's World", starting in 1993, where he played the character of Dave, loosely based on the writings of Miami Herald humor writer Dave Barry. That series ran until 1997. He has also appeared in several television specials, and guest-acted on "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" and "The John Larroquette Show".
In the '90s, Anderson opened a magic shop in New Orleans called "Sideshow". Later, he opened a nightclub called "Oswald's Speakeasy". Not long after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, Anderson closed the nightclub down and relocated to Asheville, North Carolina, where he continued to regularly perform as a magician.
In addition to magic and acting, Anderson, like his "Night Court" character, was a fan of jazz, scat-singer, Mel Torme; Anderson delivered the eulogy at Torme's funeral in 1999. Torme had guest-starred several times on "Night Court".
Anderson was found dead in his Asheville home on April 16, 2018. He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth Morgan, and has two children from a previous marriage.
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