One of TV's most flamboyantly campy actors, Alan Sues — who was best known for his turn on the '60s smash hit, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In — has died. Sues, 85, died Thursday in his West Hollywood, Calif. home, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Longtime friend, Michael Gregg Michaud told the Times that Sues was gay but did not come out publicly for fear that it would ruin his career.
"He had a ton of gay fans," said Michaud. "They all said he was one of the very few gay sort of characters that they saw on television at that time. They identified with him, and they were thankful. As he got older, it meant more to him and he was appreciative of that."
Sues, whose career spanned six decades, made his Broadway debut in 1953. A decade later he performed on stage with his former wife, Phyllis, followed by small roles in films and TV shows like The Twilight Zone and Wild Wild West. In the mid-'70s he played Professor Moriarty in the Broadway production of Sherlock Holmes and an in a role Gen X-ers are most likely to remember, Sues played a flamboyant Peter Pan Peanut Butter spokesman.
But it was Laugh-In for which Sues will be most remembered. The smash NBC variety show cast Sues alongside a bevy of brilliant comic performers like Goldie Hawn, Judy Carne, and Jo Anne Worley. He gained LGBT fans for his recurring characters like the Big Al, a swishy sportscaster who'd ring a bell during sportscasts, exclaiming, "Oh … my tinkle…my tinkle…I looove my tinkle."
Read his full obituary at the Los Angeles Times.