Over the years, comedian Tim Conway has delighted Disney audiences with his antics in such memorable live-action motion pictures as The Apple Dumpling Gang, The Shaggy D.A., and The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again. Often paired with funnyman Don Knotts, the duo inspired the kind of belly laughs reminiscent of Hollywood’s legendary comedy teams, such as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
As Tim once observed with typical befuddlement, “The casting is ingenious, like putting Stan Laurel and Stan Laurel in the same film.”
Born Tom Conway on December 15, 1933, in Willoughby, Ohio, he grew up in the curiously named community Chagrin Falls, which later inspired his unique comedy routines. After majoring in speech and radio at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, he enlisted in the United States Army, serving two years with the Eighth Army Assignment Team. Upon discharge, he took a job answering mail for a Cleveland radio deejay. His clever letter-writing skills motivated a transfer to the promotional department.
Tim then went on to direct a local television show called Ernie’s Place and often appeared as the paradoxical character Dag Hereford, a self-proclaimed authority on an array of subjects who, in actuality, revealed himself a blithering simpleton.
Comedienne Rose Marie happened to catch the young comic’s performance and recommended him to Steve Allen. In 1956, he tweaked the Hereford character for Allen’s ABC variety series; audiences quickly took to television’s newest prankster.
As a full-fledged comic, his name had to change since a well-known British actor had already claimed that moniker. Allen advised “dot the O,” and Tim Conway was born.
In 1962, Tim was snagged to play Ensign Charles Parker on the popular wartime sitcom McHale’s Navy, which lasted six seasons and sailed Tim to television stardom. Other series included Rango, The Tim Conway Show, and The Tim Conway Comedy Hour.
Probably best remembered as a regular on The Carol Burnett Show, Tim received five Emmys® during his 1970s tenure, often playing opposite comedian Harvey Korman—and always delivering hilarious performances.
In 1973, Tim first shuffled onto the Disney lot to star in The World’s Greatest Athlete, followed by The Apple Dumpling Gang. He and Knotts portrayed the bumbling Hash Knife Outfit, a pair of desperadoes destined to be caught. He went on to play opposite a football-kicking mule in Disney’s Gus and, later, a football-playing pooch in the Studio’s Air Bud: Golden Receiver.
On the small screen, Tim’s Disney credits include Walt Disney World Celebrity Circus, Carol & Company, The Proud Family, and more.