Harry Anderson, the actor best known for playing an off-the-wall judge working the night shift of a Manhattan court room in the television comedy series Night Court, was found dead in his North Carolina home Monday.
Mr. Anderson was 65.
A statement from the Asheville Police Department said officers responded to a call from Mr. Anderson’s home early Monday and found him dead. The statement said foul play is not suspected.
On Night Court, Mr. Anderson played Judge Harry T. Stone, a young jurist who professed his love for singer Mel Torme, actress Jean Harlow, magic tricks and his collection of art-deco ties.
He also starred in the series Dave’s World and appeared on Cheers as con man Harry "The Hat" Gittes.
Mr. Anderson prided himself on being a magician as well as actor. He was born in Newport, R.I., on Oct. 14, 1952. He grew up in New York and moved to Oregon when he was a teenager and said that’s where he became a hippie.
"The Shakespeare Festival at Ashland, Ore., seemed like a good place to open a magic store," he said. "At 18, I was ready for retirement. It didn’t last long, but I was established as the magician. I worked the streets in San Francisco and I did magic and special effects at the festival."
Mr. Anderson learned the ropes as a street performer in San Francisco, New Orleans, and Austin, Texas, among other cities. When he made his first appearance on Saturday Night Live, he was right off the street.
Night Court ran on NBC from 1984 to 1992, and Anderson received three lead comedy actor Emmy nominations for his role. After the show ended, he was cast in the lead role in the CBS sitcom Dave’s World, which was based on the life of Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist Dave Barry. That series ran from 1993 until 1997.
A People magazine story in 2002 said Mr. Anderson disappeared from Hollywood and resurfaced as the owner of a New Orleans magic shop. According to the story, Mr. Anderson was disenchanted by the prospect of chasing acting roles into middle age.
Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he moved to Asheville.
Mr. Anderson had two children from his first marriage, to Leslie Pollack. His second wife, Elizabeth Morgan, is among his survivors.