Arte Johnson is being remembered by his Laugh-In co-stars in the days following his death. Johnson, one of the most iconic stars of the 1960s classic sketch-comedy, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, died late last week at age 90. Johnson passed away at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of heart failure following a three-year battle with bladder cancer, his family told The Hollywood Reporter.
Arte Johnson was best known for playing, Wolfgang, a “very interesting” cigarette-smoking German soldier who thought World War II was still going on, and the lecherous, Tyrone F. Horneigh, who ended most visits to the park with a pelting from a female’s purse. Johnson also played Piotr Rosmenko, the Eastern European Man, who delivered a series of Russian reversal jokes.
In many of the sketches on Laugh-In, Arte Johnson traded one-liners with Goldie Hawn. Like Johnson, Hawn was plucked from obscurity by Laugh-In creator George Schlatter, and the show served as a major career starter. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Schlatter found Johnson when he was working as a suit salesman at Carroll’s, and Goldie Hawn was also a relative unknown when he cast her in the edgy NBC series back in 1968.
As two of the original members of the highly successful Laugh-In, it is no wonder that Goldie Hawn and Arte Johnson became close friends both on and off the screen. After Johnson’s death, Hawn remembered her late co-star on Twitter as she wished him blessings on his way to heaven and told him that she loved him.
Bless you Artie on your way to heaven. I love you https://t.co/sJ8oSTJiqX— Goldie Hawn (@goldiehawn) July 7, 2019
Laugh-In enthusiasts may recall several classic sketches with Johnson and Hahn. In addition to Goldie’s run-in with German soldier Wolfgang, which you can see in the video below, in another sketch, his character Rosmenko attempted to teach Goldie the Russian language.
Hawn, who was just 22 years old when she joined Laugh-In, once told Harper’s Bazaar that her while fans embraced her ditzy, giggly, bikini-wearing character, she also raised some feminist eyebrows.
“An editor from a women’s magazine came up to me and said, ‘Don’t you feel terrible that you’re playing a dumb blonde?’ I said, ‘I don’t understand that question because I’m already liberated. Liberation comes from the inside.'”
Of course, Goldie Hawn had the last laugh when she won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her performance in the film Cactus Flower in 1969, just one year after Laugh-In debuted. Arte Johnson was also an award winner, nabbing an Emmy Award for his work on Laugh-In in 1969.
You can see Goldie Hawn and Arte Johnson in the Laugh-In clip below.