Gordie Tapp, Cousin Clem on 'Hee Haw,' Dies at 94

Gordie Tapp OBIT_publicity - P 2016
Roy Martin/CBC Still Photo Collection

Gordie Tapp OBIT_publicity - P 2016

The Canadian funnyman appeared in 90 episodes of the long-running U.S. variety show.

Canadian comic and entertainer Gordie Tapp, best known as the country bumpkin Cousin Clem on Hee Haw, has died. He was 94.

Tapp died Sunday in Burlington, Ontario, after a long illness, the CBC confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was born in 1922 in London, Ontario, and got his start in TV at the Canadian public broadcaster during the 1950s.

Tapp conceived the hayseed Cousin Clem character while hosting Country Hoedown between 1956 and 1965. Success with the Canadian network for 13 years encouraged Tapp to take his Cousin Clem character to Nashville, where he eventually went on to star in 90 of the 306 episodes on CBS' comedy/variety show Hee Haw, between 1969 and 1988.

He also wrote for 78 of the Hee Haw episodes he appeared in. Tapp's other acting credits included the 1983 indie movie Sweet Country Music, which he also wrote, and Wild Horse Hank, a 1979 film by director Eric Till that co-starred Linda Blair and Richard Crenna.

Younger Canadians came to know Tapp as the pitchman for Ultramatic adjustable beds in TV commercials that ran during the early 2000s.

Tapp received the Order of Canada in 1998 and the Order of Ontario in 1999, and became a member of Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Helen, and two daughters and a son.