Actor and comedian Kevin Meaney has passed away. Meaney, who just turned 60 this year, is best known for his stand-up comedy, appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, as well as playing the lead role in the 1991 television adaptation of Uncle Buck. News of Kevin’s death hit social media before the news outlets, leaving several of Meaney’s colleagues in heartbreak and disbelief and questioning the authenticity or whether or not Kevin had simply fallen victim to another celebrity death hoax.
According to Laughspin, the news of Meaney’s death was confirmed by his agent, Tom Ingegno.
“It is true as confirmed to me by his family,” Ingegno told Laughspin of Meaney’s death. “It is a tremendous loss to the comedy community as well. He was loved and will be missed.”
Meaney was scheduled to perform in Rhode Island this weekend, so it is presumed that he didn’t have a known longstanding medical condition. Initial reports indicate Meaney was found unresponsive in his home.
According to his website, Kevin Meaney began his career more than 30 years ago and was “born to entertain.” Meaney’s first HBO comedy special threw him into the spotlight in the late 80s and Kevin would go on to make more than a dozen appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, as well as guest spots on SNL, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Meaney also went on to star in Hairspray on Broadway.
Twice in the past 15 years, Meaney made headlines for altercations at U.S. airports. In 2002, Meaney reportedly grabbed the M16 of a National Guardsman at the San Francisco International Airport after a scuffle over his wife’s security clearance. In 2014, according to the NY Post, Meaney was arrested at Kennedy airport in New York for intentionally elbowing the chest of a 29-year-old woman. Those charges against Meaney were later dropped by the district attorney.
One of Meaney’s more notable stories, however, was the fact that he came out as gay after having married television executive Mary Ann Halford. According to an interview with the Boston Globe, Meaney realized he was gay in his teens but feared being shunned as it was the 80s and the height of the AIDS epidemic.
Meaney told the Globe that as he was performing on Broadway in 2002, he began to feel safe in being true to himself.
“That turned me around,” he says. “I got a job doing the gayest musical of all time, Hairspray, and everybody in the cast and everybody in the crew and everybody in the audience, they were all gay. So it just gave me the courage. People say, ‘Does Broadway make you gay?’ Yes, it does. OK? It does. Even going to see a show, you can become gay. So you’ve got to be careful,” he joked. Kevin Meaney officially came out in 2008.
While Kevin Meaney may not be a household name when it comes to comedians or actors, he certainly earned the respect from his community as memories and love for the fallen performer poured in from some of Hollywood’s more notable comedic forces:
R.I.P. Kevin Meaney
— Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) October 22, 2016
Kevin Meaney was a great standup, a terrifically funny actor and a very nice man. RIP
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) October 22, 2016
Kevin Meaney was as funny as they get and the nicest man. He could make you lose your mind laughing. A very special person. https://t.co/EBvDUmNUrr
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) October 22, 2016
Always thought Kevin Meaney was a brilliant comedian. Then we hung out in Ireland and I found out he was also a terrific person. RIP.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) October 22, 2016
[Featured Image by Evan Agostini/Getty Images]