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NEW YORK (AP) — Gallagher, the long-haired, smash-’em-up comedian who left a trail of laughter, anger and shattered watermelons over a decadeslong career, has died at age 76.

Craig Marquardo, in a statement identifying himself as Gallagher’s “longtime former manager,” said that he died Friday at his home in Palm Springs, California, after a brief illness. Gallagher had numerous heart attacks over the years, including one right before a scheduled show in Texas in 2012.

With a beret on his head and a few simple props, from a can of oil to a bull whip, the man born Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr. built a nationwide following in the 1970s and ’80s, appearing on the “Tonight” show with Johnny Carson and starring in numerous Showtime specials. His act included observational humor (“What about Easter? Whose idea was it to give eggs to an animal that hops”), political commentary (“They don’t call a tax a tax. They call it a revenue enhancer”), invented sports (synchronized Ping-Pong) and his trademark Sledge-O-Matic destruction.

“Ladies and gentlemen! I did not come here tonight just to make you laugh. I came here to sell you something, and I want you to pay particular attention!” he would call out in his best rapid-fire impersonation of a late-night television pitchman. “The amazing Master Tool Corporation, a subsidiary of Fly-By-Night Industries, has entrusted who? Me! To show you! The handiest and the dandiest kitchen tool you’ve ever seen.”

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