Dick Martin dead at 86

May 25, 2008 at 3:00 a.m. ET

Television star Dick Martin, who co-created and co-starred in "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In", died of respiratory failure Saturday in Santa Monica, CA. He was 86 years old.

Dick Martin of Laugh InThe actor/comedian/director lost one lung to tuberculosis as a teen and part of the surviving lung in 1980. He was placed on a ventilator last week and never recovered.Martin's TV phenomena jump-started the careers of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin. "I think it's important that we all will remember him," said friend and agent Barry Greenberg. "He was on an extraordinary top-rated television show and directed some of the most fascinating television we have seen, including the last episode of ‘Newhart.' He was at least equal as a director as he was an actor-comedian in the first part of his career.'"A statement from Martin's rep read:

"Laugh-In, which debuted in January 1968, was unlike any comedy-variety show before it. Rather than relying on a series of tightly scripted song-and-dance segments, it offered up a steady, almost stream-of-consciousness run of non-sequitur jokes, political satire and madhouse antics from a cast of talented young actors and comedians that also included Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Jo Anne Worley and announcer Gary Owens. Presiding over it all were Rowan and Martin, the veteran nightclub comics whose standup banter put their own distinct spin on the show."

Martin is survived by his wife and two sons, Richard and Cary. There will be no funeral at his request.Read more celebrity obituary features here.

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