The star of the classic NBC comedy “Night Court” was found dead today in North Carolina.
Harry Anderson, who played the lead character of Judge Harry Stone, was found dead at his home.
He got his first big role on “Cheers,” before landing the lead on “Night Court.”
Anderson was also an accomplished magician, and often performed magic shows in recent years.
Harry Anderson, who earned multiple Emmy nominations in the mid-’80s for playing Judge Harry T. Stone on the NBC comedy Night Court, was found dead today at a home in Asheville, NC. He was 65. No cause of death was reported, but Asheville Police PIO Christina Hallingse confirmed his death to Deadline and said they do not suspect foul play.
Anderson appeared in three Season 1 episodes of NBC’s Cheers as local flim-flam man/magician Harry “The Hat” Gitties, including a memorable sting episode in which he starred. That role — which he would reprise a few times later on the then-rising sitcom — led to his landing the lead in Night Court. The sitcom also starring John Larroquette, Markie Post and Richard Moll followed the wacky goings-on in a Manhattan night court and its staffers led by Stone, a boyish, grinning, jeans-and-sneakers jurist who was unconventional to say the least.
It debuted in January 1984 as a midseason replacement and the lead-out of Cheers and went on to be part of its primetime lineup for the next nine seasons.
In 1989, Harry Anderson discussed the show’s popularity with Larry King.
Anderson, also an accomplished magician, would earn three consecutive Emmy nominations for the role from 1985-87, and he stayed with the series through its 193-episode run. Night Court was a top 10 show in all of primetime for its third and fourth seasons as it and Cheers gained in popularity. It would follow the Boston-set barroom classic until moving to Wednesdays in March 1987, then bounced around the NBC schedule before wrapping in 1993.
That fall, Anderson returned to TV as the star of Dave’s World, the CBS sitcom in which he played syndicated newspaper columnist Dave Barry. It lasted four seasons through 1997.
Anderson also guested on a number of 1980s and ’90s TV series including Tanner ’88, Tales from the Crypt, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose and The John Larroquette Show and starred as Richie Tozier in the 1990 miniseries It, based on the Stephen King book. His most recent credits included episodes of the 2000s comedies 30 Rock — which featured a reunion of the Night Court cast — and Son of the Beach. He also co-starred in the 2014 indie film A Matter of Faith.
Our condolences go out to his family.