Soupy Sales 1926-2009
Slapstick comedian Soupy Sales, aka Milton Supman, died Thursday night in a New York hospice at the age of 83. According to his publicist, he had been in ailing health for several years.
Sales claims to have been hit in the face with 20,000 pies over the course of his television career, which began in Detroit in 1953 where he hosted Lunch with Soupy. He appeared with imaginary animal characters including dogs named White Fang and Black Tooth, Hippy the Hippo and Willy the Worm.
He went on to appear in a comedy-variety show called Soupy's On and then it was on to national syndication with children's shows in New York and Los Angeles.
He was suspended from the network in New York in the 60's when he instructed children to dig into Mommy's purse, pull out the paper money and mail it to him at the station. Huge demonstrations in front of the television station forced network executives to reinstate Sales.
In the 70's and 80's, Soupy appeared as a regular panelist on the syndicated game shows What's My Line?, To Tell The Truth and The Match Game.
Sales hosted a radio in the 1980's in New York at the same station as Howard Stern. The two did not get along. There was a well-known incident of Stern's cutting the strings in Sales' in-studio piano at 4:05 p.m. on May 1, 1985. In recent years Stern revealed this was a stunt staged for "theater of the mind" and to torture Sales; in truth, the piano was never harmed. Stern named Sales as one of his childhood heroes, and has expressed regret over his harsh words and actions towards him.
Sales is survived by former Broadway and June Taylor dancer, Trudy Carson, and two sons, Hunt Sales and Tony Sales, both musicians who played with David Bowie, Todd Rundgren and Iggy Pop.
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