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Harry Anderson played Dave Barry, based on the life of the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, from 1993 to 1997.(Photo: MONTY BRINTON/CBS)
ASHEVILLE - Harry Anderson, star of the sitcom "Night Court" and longtime Asheville resident, died Monday morning at age 65.
"This morning at 6:41 a.m. the Asheville Police Department responded to the home of actor Harry Anderson where he was found deceased," Asheville PD's Public Affairs officer Christina Hallingse told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday. "No foul play is suspected."
"Night Court" was on NBC for nine seasons, winning seven Emmy Awards. Anderson lived in New Orleans after "Night Court" and his subsequent sitcom "Dave's World" wrapped, moving to Asheville in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
The following interview with Anderson by then staffer Tony Kiss was published Sept. 30, 2011, to promote Anderson's performance of "Wise Guy" onstage in Abbeville, South Carolina:
Not that many years go, fall was a crazy time for actor and comic Harry Anderson.
He spent 13 seasons starring on two popular network TV sitcoms — "Night Court" on NBC from 1984-92 and "Dave's World" on CBS from 1993-97.
As those shows cranked up each year, life "for me was very hectic," said Anderson, who has lived in Asheville since 2006.
"You basically had to convince the network that you knew what you were doing, and you had to do that every day. And then you suddenly throw yourself into it." But performing was never difficult, he said. "Acting on sitcom — I can't imagine an easier job," he said.
Today, Anderson's world is very different. He writes. He builds magic tricks in the workshop behind his home north of downtown. He downloads old-time radio shows and performs about two dozen times a year, including two shows this weekend at the Abbeville (S.C.) Opera House, about two and a half hours from Asheville.
PHOTOS: Remembering Harry Anderson
PHOTOS: Remembering Harry Anderson
And he doesn't miss the TV scene. "Eventually, you have to get off the carousel and let someone else have a chance," he said.
After ending "Dave's World," Anderson headed to New Orleans, where he opened Oswald's Speakeasy in the French Quarter and created the one-man show "Wise Guy," which he's doing Friday-Saturday [in October 2011] in Abbeville.
"I owned the club and I would do the show every night," he said. "We were open for six weeks before (Hurricane) Katrina hit" in 2005.
The building survived, as did the French Quarter, but life was never the same, and eventually Anderson and his wife Elizabeth moved to Asheville, where he had visited in 1969.
Since relocating here, Anderson hasn't done a big public performance in town, and this weekend's dates in Abbeville are probably about as near as he will come to that, he said.
"The closest thing you could compare my performance to is a bank heist. And you don't stick around after a bank heist," he cracked, explaining why he doesn't perform in Asheville.
"Self-promoting to your friends isn't appealing. You stand out too much among the people you are trying to get along with. I am open to to doing what I can for a small performance or a benefit (in town)."
Anderson doesn't watch a lot of TV today — beyond the news and the few programs he downloads from iTunes, such as "30 Rock."
"When the whole Charlie Sheen thing was going on, I just cracked up," he said. "Doing a three- or four-camera sitcom is like stealing the money. Charlie Sheen — what he was doing was comparable to what I did on on 'Dave's World' and 'Night Court' and I didn't work up a sweat. The people who do it should feel very lucky."
Even 15 years after leaving network TV, Anderson is still frequently recognized by fans.
"Half the time, people think I am Ed Begley Jr.," he said, referring to the "St. Elsewhere" and "7th Heaven" actor. "People who liked ('Night Court') loved it. Those were easy characters to like. People meet me and they don't feel threatened. I have been in their living rooms a lot.
"It was a great way to make a good living. The so-called fame and success — I never understood what that is. I used to sit in restaurants and wonder why people were looking at me. And my wife would say 'Because you are on television.'"
This news has been published by title Harry Anderson (1952 2018) Talks About Why He Loved His Asheville Life
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