Patti Deutsch, the red-haired comedian who was a staple on the classic sketch comedy show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, has passed away at age 73 after a long battle with cancer. Deutsch shot to fame in the 1970s as a regular on Laugh-In, then became a frequent fixture on game shows Match Game and Tattletales, where she appeared alongside her husband, TV writer Donald Ross (The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote).
Deutsch started out as the only female member of the 1960s improv comedy group Ace Trucking Company, which also featured Fred Willard, Bill Saluga, Michael Mislove, and George Memmoli, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The troupe made dozens of appearances on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson and recorded an album of improvised sketches for RCA.
In 1972, Patti Deutsch joined NBC’s Laugh-In for its final season. Her other TV roles included The Girl with Something Extra and Grandpa Goes to Washington, a short-lived NBC comedy with Jack Albertson. The show, about a retired professor with no political experience who gets elected to the U.S. Senate, was canceled midseason.
But by the mid-1970s, Deutsch was firmly seated—in the bottom seat to the right—on Match Game, where she filled in the blanks on the Gene Rayburn-hosted game show. In an interview with Comedy Couch, fellow Match Game veteran Marcia Wallace explained that the sixth seat was the hardest seat to sit in on Match Game because many times all the answers had already been given.
“I was there and Betty White, who was the queen of all game shows. And Fannie Flagg and Patti Deutsch and me,” Wallace said.
“There were a couple of other people but we were the main four.”
Patti Deutsch had a memorable role in the 1983 movie Mr. Mom, playing the deli girl who made stay-at-home dad Jack Butler’s (Michael Keaton) disastrous trip to the grocery store even more chaotic.
In addition to her TV show and movie work, Patti also appeared in hundreds of television commercials, including this 1970s spot for Prell shampoo.
By the 1990s, Patti Deutsch segued to voice roles. Known for her nasally delivery, Patti lent her voice to animated series such as The Wild Thornberrys, The Smurfs, and Darkwing Duck, and on the films Tarzan (1999), The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) and Monsters, Inc. (2001).
Deutsch worked in television up until a few years before her death. Her final credit was a guest role in the 2013 ABC sitcom Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23.
In addition to her husband of nearly 40 years, Patti Deutsch is survived by her children Max, Lee and Alexis, and three grandchildren.
[Featured Image by AP Images/File]