Thesp and original Groundlings member Kip King, who voiced Tailor Smurf, died July 15 following a long illness. He was 72.
King joined the L.A. improv troupe after seeing an old friend, Tracy Newman, in a Groundlings show. According to an interview with Steven Thompson, King was blown away after seeing the perf and decided to join. He was quoted as saying, “When Moses parted the Red Sea, he said, ‘I need some people here.’?”
Born Jerome Kattan, King started in showbiz during the so-called Golden Age of television and at the end of the studio system. He worked with Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Lana Turner, Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis, Red Skelton and Stan Laurel, who gave him advice on how to become a comic.
Besides voicing Tailor Smurf on NBC’s cartoon, King did voiceover work on “The Biskitts” and “Charley and Company,” among other toons.
His TV credits include “Dragnet,” “The Bill Cosby Show,” “Reno 911,” “Saturday Night Live” and “Bollywood Hero,” with his son Chris Kattan.
King appeared in commercials, including as the Continental Yogurt Man and as a spokesman for V-8 Juice. He also co-starred in webisodes of “The Royal Standard.”
In 1981, King added the title of instructor to his resume, teaching on-camera improv techniques to everyone from kids to senior citizens.
Survivors include his son, thesp Chris Kattan.