DETROIT — Soupy Sales, the rubber-faced comedian whose anything-for-a-chuckle career was built on 20,000 pies to the face and 5,000 live TV appearances across a half-century of laughs, has died. He was 83.
Sales died at Thursday night at Calvary Hospice in the Bronx, New York, said his former manager and longtime friend, Dave Usher. Sales had many health problems and entered the hospice last week, Usher said.
At the peak of his fame in the 1950s and ’60s, Sales was one of the best-known faces in the nation, Usher said.
“If President Eisenhower would have walked down the street, no one would have recognized him as much as Soupy,” said Usher.
At the same time, Sales retained an openness to fans that turned every restaurant meal into an endless autograph-signing session, Usher said.
“He was just good to people,” Usher said.
Sales began his TV career in Detroit, where he drew a large audience on WXYZ-TV. He moved to Los Angeles in 1961.
The comic’s pie-throwing schtick became his trademark, and celebrities lined up to take one on the chin alongside Sales. During the early 1960s, stars such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis and Shirley MacLaine received their just desserts side-by-side with the comedian on his show.