Throughout his six-decade-spanning career in show business, the late American actor, comedian, director and writer, Tim Conway, appeared in more than 100 television shows and films. Some of his most memorable roles included portraying the hapless Ensign Parker in the 1960s World War II-era sitcom McHale’s Navy and several recurring iconic characters on The Carol Burnett Show, such as Mister Tudball, the Dumb Private, and the Oldest Man. For his work on that program, Conway ended up winning four Emmys.
On several occasions, Conway was given his own television show. In 1970, he teamed up with his old McHale’s Navy co-star Joe Flynn to create the aptly titled sitcom The Tim Conway Show. After that series ended after a brief run from January to June of 1970, he went on to host the variety shows The Tim Conway Comedy Hour and The Time Conway Comedy House.
Years later, in 1980, Conway was given yet another one-hour variety series titled once again The Tim Conway Show. This series lasted longer than any of his previous self-titled series and wrapped up in August 1981.
On the big screen, the Ohio-native frequently co-starred with Don Knotts in films like The Apple Dumpling Gang, The Prize Fighter, and The Private Eyes. Conway was also known for playing the title character in the Dorf series of direct-to-video sports comedy films.
Over the years, Conway did a ton of voice-over work in animated series such as Scooby Doo, The Simpsons, The Wild Thornberrys, and The Proud Family. Younger viewers might recall that he provided the voice of Barnacle Boy in the Spongebob Squarepants animated series.
While providing dialogue for the 2015 animated film The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, Conway had trouble recording his lines due to then-undisclosed health issues. Ultimately these health problems led to his retirement from acting in 2016.
Two years later, he was diagnosed with dementia caused by a condition known as normal pressure hydrocephalus. On May 14, 2019, complications from this condition led to his death at the age of 85.
It’s been three or so years since Conway’s passing, but we’re still learning unsettling details of his last couple years alive. Recently, Conway’s daughter has come out and revealed how her comedian father’s final days were no laughing matter.
As it turns out, bitter legal battles over the four-time Emmy Award-winning star’s care essentially made his life a living hell. Join us as we see what Conway’s daughter had to share about this troubling chapter and how it adversely affected everyone in Tim’s inner circle.
Facts Verse Presents: Tim Conway’s Daughter Reveals the Sad Truth of His Final Days
Conway’s Career In A Nutshell
Thomas Daniel ‘Tim’ Conway was born on the 15th of December, 1933, in Willoughby, Ohio. He grew up in the nearby town of Chagrin Falls in Cuyahoga County. His father, Daniel, was a groomer for polo ponies, while his mother, Sophia, was a homemaker.
Conway majored in television and radio at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. After graduating, he enlisted in the Army and served his country between 1956 and 1958.
After getting discharged from the Army, Conway found work at the Cleveland, Ohio, NBC affiliate station KYW-TV. During that time, he got to work alongside famed television and radio personality Ernie Anderson.
Conway got into comedy when he began writing and performing comedy routines between morning movies on CBS. He eventually was ‘discovered’ by Rose Marie and became a regular guest on The Steve Allen Plymouth Show.
In 1962, Conway earned true fame while starring as Ensign Charles Parker in McHale’s Navy. He went on to seek further success in a series of shows that ended up failing, including 1969s short-lived Turn-On. Embarrassingly, that series was given the ax after airing only one episode. It’s said that the network didn’t even want to bring the show back on after it’s first commercial break.
As we mentioned in the intro, Conway went on to be given his own show, The Tim Conway Show, in 1970, but that series too was canceled after only 12 episodes. His biggest career success, however, had to be his many performances on The Carol Burnett Show, portraying characters such as Mr. Tudball and The Old Man. Although he’s widely thought of as being a regular on the series, he only actually became regular performer in 1975.
Conway eventually shifted gears, appearing in several films, including 1975s The Apple Dumpling Gang, 1979s The Prize Fighter, and 1980s The Private Eyes. In his later years, Conway made many more film and television appearances.
In the 80s, Conway developed the character Dorf who first appeared in the 1987 short film Dorf On Golf. The character spoke with a Swedish accent similar to the one that Mr. Tudball spoke with on The Carol Burnett Show. Dorf was about as tall as a five-year old child. His height was achieved by standing in a hole with fake shows attached to Conway’s knees. Because of this, Dorf was always seen standing in one place.
Conway and his co-stars Vincent Schiavelli and Michelle Smith went on to make eight short films featuring Dorf.
Conway Could No Longer Care For Himself
Conway was married twice – first to Marry Anne Dalton from 1961 to 1978, and later to Charlene Fusco from 1984 until his death. Throughout those two marriages, Conway had seven children. He and his first wife Mary Anne Dalton had six children. With his second wife, Charlene, Conway ended up becoming her daughter Jacqueline’s stepfather.
When Conway passed away in 2019, Charlene didn’t bother to call Tim’s daughter Kelly to deliver the news. This snub came as no surprise to Kelly as she had been battling Charlene in court over her father’s conservatorship and his access to caregivers and doctors.
Ultimately, even though it was established that Charlene had been treating Conway negligently, a judge ended up ruling against Kelly, and mediation was implemented that allowed for her to have visitation rights. This heartbreaking ordeal was documented in Kelly’s memoir “My Dad’s Funnier Than Your Dad: Growing Up With Tim Conway In The Funniest House in America”. The book details everything from Kelly’s blissful childhood to the bitter dispute with Chalene over Conway’s rapidly deteriorating health in his final days.
Kelly told Page Six in 2021 that the battle with her stepmother was tragic because things could have easily played out very differently. Kelly insists that instead of all of the drama and vitriol, her dealings with Charlene could have been substantially calmer.
Keely says that before her dad became ill, she enjoyed a warm relationship with her stepmom. She had a deep love for her since she loved her father so much. He likewise loved her immensely, and they seemed so happy together. As such, Kelly didn’t see anything wrong with their relationship.
Kelly’s relationship with Charlene, however, began to deteriorate over small things like the type of food she would bring over when Tim first got sick. Kelly alleges that she used to visit her father and bring him things like sandwiches, but Charlene would always throw them in the garbage can because she wanted to be the one to make him food.
While that might sound pretty petty, Kelly insists that things only escalated from there. Apparently, at some point, Charlene decided that after having a positive relationship with Kelly for over three decades, she was going to reverse course and do everything in her power to keep her from her husband and not let her be involved in his health care.
Kelly has revealed that she hasn’t spoken to Charlene since her father’s funeral and that even then, she wasn’t sure that she and her siblings were going to be invited to attend. The Conway siblings ended up throwing a reception after the funeral at a pizza joint that Tim always loved, not far from where they grew up. According to Kelly, that event ended up being better than the actual funeral since Charlene wasn’t there to make everyone feel uncomfortable.
Kelly now works as a hairstylist in LA. When asked why she decided to write her memoir, she explained that the number one question that she gets asked when people find out who her father was, was what it was like to grow up in that household.
In the book, she explains that she had a fantastic childhood because it was a bunch of “fun and games”. She even describes her upbringing as the ‘best childhood ever’.
Kelly is fully aware that people are going to react the contents of memoir by accusing her of attempting to take control of her father’s finances, but she insists that that was never the case. According to her, the only reason why she was seeking to gain control of the conservatorship was to help her father. She claims that her main goal was to let the doctors help him suffer less.
In fact, she claims that when she sought to take conservatorship, she asked that no money pass through her hands and that all financial issues be taken care of through his accountants and lawyers. To this day, she swears that she wanted nothing to do with his money.
One of Kelly’s first goals was to have her father moved back home so that he could be in familiar surroundings and not have a new doctor poking and prodding at him every twenty minutes. She says that she wanted to keep his suffering kept to a minimum. If he was able to be at home, perhaps he would have been spared some of the complications and heartbreak of what he was going through. Regardless, That never happened, and Kelly says she still doesn’t understand why.
Following his death, numerous stars and actors paid tribute to Conway, including Dick Van Dyke, Ben Stiller, Ed Asner, Patton Oswalt, Judd Apatow, Larry King, and Conan O’Brien – just to name a few.
Conway’s long-time close friend Bob Newhart put out a heartfelt statement saying that the world lost one of the greatest comedians and that he and his wife will miss him greatly. Carol Burnett likewise released a statement saying how heartbroken she was to hear of Conway’s passing. She went on to say that he would be in her heart forever.
While the entertainment world came out in full force to express their condolences following Conway’s death, nothing compares to the grief experienced by his children and wife. Charlene and Kelly might not see things eye to eye, and their relationship may never recover, but there is no questioning whether or not they both deeply loved Tim.
On that note, we’ll go ahead and wrap things up. But before you move on to watching another one of our facts-packed videos, take a moment to hop into the comments and share your thoughts on Tim Conway’s life, career, and tragic death. Did you know that Tim Conway’s daughter, Kelly, fought his wife, Charlene, in court over his conservatorship and that she ended up losing her case because Charlene was named his power of attorney? Let us know, and as always, thanks for watching!