1 July 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Comedian and actor Buddy Hackett, who charmed audiences in the early days of television as well as with roles in such Disney features as The Love Bug and The Little Mermaid, was found dead at his Malibu beach home on Monday; he was 78. A stand-up comic who got his start playing the Catskills resorts of upstate New York, often poking fun at his own rotund figure, Hackett was a fixture in both television and film, as well as on Broadway and in nightclubs, where his sometimes raunchy humor perpetually had audiences rolling in the aisles. Stints on early television sitcoms and talk shows gave way to Broadway roles, which in turn him to screen fame in the early `60s. He was most well-known for his scene-stealing turn in 1962's The Music Man (where he performed the song "Shipoopi") as well as for his roles in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and The Love Bug. He found a new (and younger) audience in with his voice performance as Scuttle in Disney's animated feature The Little Mermaid, and did numerous guest spots on TV shows such as Sabrina, The Teenage Witch and Just Shoot Me; he also had a supporting role in the highly acclaimed but little-seen 1999 sitcom Action. While the cause of death was not immediately announced, it was known that Hackett suffered from diabetes. He is survived by his wife, Sherry Cohen, son Sandy Hackett, and two daughters. --Prepared by IMDb staff

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