Harry Anderson
Anderson at the 1988 Emmy Awards
Harry Laverne Anderson

(1952-10-14)October 14, 1952
DiedApril 16, 2018(2018-04-16) (aged 65)
Alma materFullerton College
Occupation(s)Actor, comedian, magician
Years active1978–2014
  • Leslie Pollack
    (m. 1977; div. 1999)
  • Elizabeth Morgan
    (m. 2000)

Harry Laverne Anderson (October 14, 1952 – April 16, 2018) was an American actor, comedian and magician. He is best known for his role as Judge Harry Stone on the NBC sitcom Night Court (1984–1992). He later played Dave Barry on the CBS sitcom Dave's World (1993–1997).

In addition to eight appearances on Saturday Night Live between 1981 and 1985, Anderson had a recurring guest role as con man Harry "The Hat" Gittes on Cheers (1982–1993). He toured extensively as a magician, and did several magic/comedy shows for broadcast, including Harry Anderson's Sideshow (1987). He played Richie Tozier in the 1990 miniseries It, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name.

Early life

Anderson was born October 14, 1952, in Newport, Rhode Island.[2] He spent much of his youth performing magic on the streets of Chicago, New York, St. Louis and New Orleans before landing in California at the age of 16.[3][4] After moving to Los Angeles,[4] he joined the Dante Magic Club and worked as a street magician in San Francisco when he was 17.[5] He attended Buena Park High School before graduating from North Hollywood High School in 1970 as class valedictorian.[1][6] After high school, he attended Fullerton College.[7][8] From 1971 to 1976, he lived in Ashland, Oregon, performing magic and working with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.[9][10]


Anderson's many appearances on Saturday Night Live during the show's seventh, eighth, and ninth seasons, as well as hosting an episode on the show's tenth season, led to his role as Harry "The Hat" Gittes on several seasons of the television sitcom Cheers, and eventually as Judge Harry Stone on the sitcom Night Court.[11] He went on to appear in other television specials and shows, including 12 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.[12]

As a magician, Anderson toured extensively and performed in comedy/magic shows for clubs and broadcast, including Harry Anderson's Sideshow in 1987.[4] In 1990, he starred in the television adaptation of Stephen King's It as the adult Richie Tozier.[13] From 1993 to 1997, he starred in the television sitcom Dave's World, based loosely on the life and columns of humorist Dave Barry.[14]

Anderson with his first wife, Leslie Pollack, at the 39th Primetime Emmy Awards, September 1987

Together with longtime friend Turk Pipkin, Anderson wrote a book called Games You Can't Lose: A Guide for Suckers, a collection of gags, cons, tricks and scams.[11] First published in 1989 (ISBN 978-1-58080-086-0, 2001 reprint), it also contains a survey of "Games You Can't Win" told from an insider's perspective.[15] He appeared with Criss Angel in a TV special called The Science of Magic, later released on DVD.[16]

In 2000, Anderson hosted the pilot for a potential revival of the panel game show What's My Line? for CBS primetime.[15]

He moved from Pasadena, California, to New Orleans in 2002.[11] In 2002, he and his second wife, Elizabeth, whom he met in New Orleans while she was bartending,[17] opened a small shop in the French Quarter named "Spade & Archer Curiosities by Appointment" (later named "Sideshow"),[18] selling various "magic, curiosities, and apocrypha".[17]

In 2005, Anderson opened a nightclub in the French Quarter, Oswald's Speakeasy, at 1331 Decatur Street at the corner of Esplanade Avenue.[19] He performed a one-man show there called Wise Guy.[20]

Anderson appeared in Hexing a Hurricane, a documentary about the first six months in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.[11][21] He and his wife sold Oswald's Speakeasy in October 2006.[21] He continued to present his evening show Wise Guy, originally developed for his theater in New Orleans.[21]

In November 2008, Anderson played himself on an episode of 30 Rock, along with fellow former Night Court cast members Markie Post and Charles Robinson.[22]

In his final years, Anderson appeared in television comedy series such as Comedy Bang! Bang! (2013) and Gotham Comedy Live (2014).[23] His final film portrayal was as Professor Kaman in the 2014 Christian drama film A Matter of Faith.[24]

Personal life

Anderson was a longtime fan of singer Mel Tormé, and his character Judge Stone on Night Court was also a Tormé fan; the singer appeared on the sitcom six times.[12] Night Court creator Reinhold Weege said that Anderson and his character both being Tormé fans was completely coincidental.[25] Anderson was among those who delivered eulogies at the singer's funeral in 1999.[26]

Anderson was married twice.[27] In 1977 he married Leslie Pollack (b. 1953); they had two children, a daughter, Eva Fay Anderson, and a son, Dashiell Anderson, before divorcing in 1999.[28] In 2000 he married Elizabeth Morgan (b. 1973). In 2006, Anderson and his wife moved from New Orleans to Asheville, North Carolina.[21]


In late January 2018, Anderson had a bout of influenza and subsequently suffered several strokes. On April 16, 2018, at age 65, he died in his sleep of a stroke due to influenza and heart disease at his home in Asheville, North Carolina.[29][5][11][12]



Year Title Role Source
1982 The Escape Artist Harry Masters [30]
1988 She's Having a Baby Harry Anderson Uncredited
2006 Hexing a Hurricane Himself [21]
2014 A Matter of Faith Professor Kaman [24]


Year Title Role Notes
1981–1985 Saturday Night Live Himself 8 episodes[12]
1982–1993 Cheers Harry "The Hat" Gittes 6 episodes[11]
1984–1992 Night Court Judge Harold "Harry" T. Stone 193 episodes; also occasional director and writer
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1984–86)[4][30]
1985 Tales from the Darkside Leon Episode: "All a Clone by the Telephone"[31]
1986 Vanishing America Dog Owner Short television film
1988 Tanner '88 Billy Ridenhour 2 episodes[23]
1988 Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs Freddie TV movie[32]
1988 D.C. Follies Harry Anderson Episode: "Nixon Hawks the Watergate Tapes for $29.99"[33]
1988 The Absent-Minded Professor Professor Henry Crawford TV movie (remake)[34][35]
1990 Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme Peter Piper TV movie[23]
1990 It Richie Tozier Miniseries[31]
1990 Tales from the Crypt Jim Korman Episode: "Korman's Kalamity"[31]
1992 Parker Lewis Can't Lose Ronny Ray Rasmussen Episode: "Glory Daze"[23]
1993–1997 Dave's World Dave Barry 98 episodes[5]
1994 Hearts Afire Dave Barry Episode: "Sleepless in a Small Town"[5]
1996 Night Stand with Dick Dietrick Harry Episode: "UFO Mother Show"[36]
1996 The John Larroquette Show Dr. Gates Episode: "Cosmetic Perjury"[37]
1996 Harvey Elwood P. Dowd TV movie (remake)[38]
1997 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Dr. Klaus "Fat Head" Mensa Episode: "The Family Hour"[39]
1998 Noddy Jack Fable Episode: "The Magic Show"[38]
2002 Son of the Beach Bull Cracker Episode: "The Long Hot Johnson"[12]
2008 30 Rock Himself Episode: "The One with the Cast of Night Court"[38]
2013 Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself Episode: "Rainn Wilson Wears a Short Sleeved Plaid Shirt & Colorful Sneakers"[37]
2014 Gotham Comedy Live Himself Episode: "Harry Anderson"[40]

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
1997 Nightmare Ned Graveyard Shadow Creature / Grampa Ted Needlemeyer Voice
Books, magazines, and publications
Year Title Info ISBN Source
1982 Wenii: The Intentional Confusers' Magazine A spoof on the magic magazine
Genii: The Conjurers' Magazine
1989 Harry Anderson's Games You Can't Lose: A Guide for Suckers ISBN 978-0671647278
1993 Harry Anderson: Wise Guy from the Street to the Screen ISBN 978-0915181254
2001 Games You Can't Lose: A Guide for Suckers ISBN 978-1580800860


  1. ^ a b "Harry Anderson: Biography". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  2. ^ "Harry Anderson, magician and star of 'Night Court,' dies at 65". NBC News. April 16, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  3. ^ Salam, Maya (April 16, 2018). "Harry Anderson, 65, 'Night Court' Actor Who Bottled Magic Onscreen and Off, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d "'Night Court' star John Larroquette is 'heartsick' over Harry Anderson; stars pay tribute". USA Today. April 16, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d Shanely, Patric (April 16, 2018). "'Night Court' Actor Harry Anderson Dies at 65". The Hollywood Reporter.
  6. ^ "Arts snapshot: Buena Park High School". The Orange County Register. February 26, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  7. ^ "Fullerton College Centennial Celebration | Did You Know?". fullertoncollegecentennial.com. Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  8. ^ "Orange Country Community Colleges". Los Angeles Times. October 27, 1991. Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  9. ^ John Darling (April 18, 2018). "Ashland magician Harry Anderson went on to TV success". Mail Tribune. Retrieved April 21, 2008.
  10. ^ Hill, David (April 17, 2018). "Remembering Harry the Hat: A Magician Hiding in Plain Sight". The Ringer. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "'Night Court' Star, Harry Anderson, Dead at 65". The Washington Post. April 16, 2018. Archived from the original on April 17, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Harry Anderson, 'Night Court' Star, Dies at 65". Variety. April 16, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  13. ^ Alter, Ethan (November 17, 2015). "Back to Derry: An Oral History of 'Stephen King's It'". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on March 30, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  14. ^ Meltzer, Matt (July 29, 2007). "Dave's World: Miami Herald Columnist Dave Barry Goes TV". MiamiBeach411.com.
  15. ^ a b "Harry Anderson, Magician-Turned-Actor Who Starred In 'Night Court,' Dead At 65". HuffPost. April 16, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  16. ^ The Science of Magic. Amazon.com
  17. ^ a b "Hocus Focus: Sayonara, Sitcoms. Harry Anderson, a Magician at Heart, Happily Hawks Mumbo Jumbo in the Land of Gumbo". People. 58 (17). October 21, 2002. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  18. ^ "New Orleans, Louisiana: Feejee Mermaid, Animal Freaks (Closed)". RoadsideAmerica.com. January 24, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  19. ^ "Harry Anderson's Oswald's Speakeasy and Sideshow". FrenchQuarter.com. Archived from the original on March 16, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  20. ^ "Harry Anderson in Wise Guy, Oswald's Speakeasy, August 3, 2005". offBeat.com. September 1, 2005. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  21. ^ a b c d e Schwartz, John (August 30, 2006). "For Harry Anderson, the New Orleans Magic Is Gone". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  22. ^ Canning, Robert (November 14, 2008). "30 Rock: "The One With the Cast of Night Court" Review". IGN TV. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  23. ^ a b c d "Harry Anderson Dies: 'Night Court' Star & 'Cheers' Actor Was 65". Deadline Hollywood. April 16, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  24. ^ a b "Night Court's Harry Anderson to preside over another fake argument in Creationism movie". The A.V. Club. May 2, 2014. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  25. ^ Weege, Reinhold. "DVD Extras". Night Court: The Complete First Season (Interview). Warner Bros. Home Video.
  26. ^ "Services Today for Mel Torme". Los Angeles Times. June 8, 1999. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  27. ^ Cullen, Frank (2007). Vaudeville, old & new : an encyclopedia of variety performers in America. Hackman, Florence, McNeilly, Donald. New York: Routledge. pp. 25. ISBN 978-0415938532. OCLC 62430748.
  28. ^ Balogun, Oyin (November 24, 2019). "Meet 'Night Court' Star Harry Anderson's Two Beautiful Grownup Kids". news.amomama.com. Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  29. ^ "Harry Anderson's Death Certificate" (PDF). TMZ. April 24, 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 25, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  30. ^ a b "Harry Anderson, 'Night Court' Star, Dies at 65". Time. April 16, 2018. Archived from the original on April 17, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  31. ^ a b c "Harry Anderson, 'Night Court' star, dead at 65: report". Daily News. New York. April 16, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  32. ^ "Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs". TMC. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  33. ^ Nixon Hawks the Watergate Tapes for $29.99, D.C. Follies, December 8, 1988, retrieved January 1, 2023
  34. ^ "The Absent-Minded Professor". TMC. Archived from the original on April 17, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  35. ^ Scheerer, Robert (November 27, 1988), The Absent-Minded Professor, The Magical World of Disney, retrieved January 1, 2023
  36. ^ "Night Stand With Dick Dietrick Episodes". TV Guide. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  37. ^ a b "Harry Anderson, "Night Court" Actor, Dead at 65". Rolling Stone. April 16, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  38. ^ a b c "Harry Anderson, "Night Court" Star, Dies at 65". Los Angeles Times. April 16, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  39. ^ "Harry Anderson, Who Played Richie Tozier in "It", Has Died at 65". Syfy. April 16, 2018. Archived from the original on April 17, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  40. ^ "Gotham Comedy Club: Harry Anderson". Gotham Comedy Club. April 16, 2018. Archived from the original on April 18, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018.