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Harvey Korman broke up and made up with Emmy

May 30, 2008 |  9:26 am

Harvey Korman may have been a second banana on "The Carol Burnett Show" for 10 seasons, but he was a star with the Emmy Awards. The gifted comedian, who died Thursday at age 81, won four Emmys for his contributions to this last of the great TV variety shows.

Whether as the dim-witted Ed in the "Family" sketches, faithful butler Max to Carol Burnett's fading star Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard," or buxom buttinsky Mother Marcus in "As the Stomach Turns," Korman displayed vast comedic range over 137 episodes of Burnett's series.


Perhaps his greatest laughs came when he least wanted them – as co-star Tim Conway would do everything he could to break Korman up in the middle of a sketch. The two pals took their show on the road in recent years, recalling the glory days of working together.

For the first four seasons of the show, which debuted in 1967, variety performers did not compete head to head like actors do in the comedy and drama series categories. Rather, they were recognized in the area awards, which can have one or multiple winners. Korman won Emmy Awards that way for the second and fourth seasons of "The Carol Burnett Show."

In the fifth season, Korman bested Ruth Buzzi and Lily Tomlin of "Laugh In" in the competitive category of outstanding performer in a variety or music series. The following year he lost the newly titled supporting performer race to fellow Burnett banana Tim Conway (as did Liza Minnelli for "A Royal Gala Variety" and Lily Tomlin for "Laugh In").

Season Seven proved lucky for Korman who came back to beat Conway and Foster Brooks ("The Dean Martin Comedy Hour") in the new supporting actor in comedy-variety or music category. While Korman was not nominated for Season Eight, Conway was although he lost to Jack Albertson for a guest spot on "Cher." That same year, castmate Vicki Lawrence lost the second of her bids to Emmy champ Cloris Leachman for her own guest turn on "Cher."

In Season Nine, Korman and Conway lost the supporting actor race to Chevy Chase for his first season on "Saturday Night." Lawrence would win her only Emmy Award that night, besting Leachman, who was nominated for guesting on a Telly Savalas special.

In Korman's final year on the show, Conway again got the better of him in the supporting actor race (as well as Chase and John Belushi from "Saturday Night" and Ben Vereen for "The Bell Telephone Jubilee"). Vereen also lost the race for single performance by an actor in a drama series to "Roots" co-star Lou Gossett Jr.) that night.

For the show's swan song season the following year, Conway would win supporting actor for the third time (edging out Belushi and Dan Akroyd of the newly rechristened "Saturday Night Live," Gossett for a Ben Vereen special and Peter Sellers for "The Muppet Show") and another Emmy Award as part of the writing team.

Enjoy the comic delights of Korman and Conway as patient Harvey falls victim to inept dentist Tim. Share your thoughts of Korman by clicking the "comments" link below or click HERE.

And watch the pair discuss their 40-year partnership in the first of a three-part interview with the Academy's Archive of American Television — CLICK HERE.

(CBS / Associated Press)