Friday evening, I found out that one of my favorite comedians of ALL TIME, Larry Storch left us as he passed away in his sleep in New York City. He left us just six months shy of his 100th birthday as plans were in the works to celebrate this heritage milestone and I was going to be there front row and center, just like when we gathered at the Big Apple's Triad Theatre to toast his 95th birthday on January 8th, 2018, a celebration that I will NEVER forget. I was SO PROUD to call him my fiend in life.

I had the pleasure of being in Larry's company four times in my life and each get-together was special in it's own unique way. We first met at a Comic-Con in Providence, Rhode Island in 2013 (the same venue where I had my memorable meeting with the late, GREAT Adam West) and 2 meetings the year after as I had the pleasure of joining him when he received the honor of being Mayor for a day in Fort Lee, New Jersey (my mom resided there prior to her passing) and at the Comic-Con in The Ocean State. Larry also gave me an interview which I played back while working at another radio station east of the Berkshires.

The 95th birthday was memorable as I will NEVER forget the big smile on his face when I came over to extend my salutations which told me he was SO HAPPY to see me as a pair of native New Yorkers were reunited again. It was there I also met up with new friends that are an instrumental part of my life including Barbara Feldon (Agent 99 on "Get Smart"), Louise Murray, Lillian Walker-Moss (lead singer of The Exciters, and the talented Charlie Romo just to name a few. It was also on that night, I had the honor of meeting the late GREAT Bradley Bolke who provided the voice of Chumley on "Tennessee Tuxedo". Don Adams brought the star character to life in one of my favorite cartoons from the 60's and Larry also contributed the voice of Mr. Whoopee in this animated series. Priceless memories, if you ask me!

Best known as Corporal Randolph Agarn on the 1960's situation comedy, F-Troop, Larry's resume included an assortment of guest appearances on some of our favorite TV shows which included "I Dream Of Jeannie", "Gilligan's Island", "Love American Style" and "All In the Family" as the list is enormous in nature. But it was on "Get Smart' where he portrayed "The Groovy Guru", a KAOS radio host who sent subliminal messages to his teenage audience and he even put Max and 99 in his hypnotic trance. Here is a memorable clip from my favorite episode of the Mel Brooks-Buck Henry spy series that was appointment TV for me every Saturday night on NBC:

(Groovy Guru clip courtesy of NBC and You Tube)

In closing, this statement on Larry's Facebook page summed it all up as his memory will ALWAYS remain eternal and everlasting:

"It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share with you the news our beloved Larry passed away in his sleep overnight. We are shocked and at a loss for words at the moment. Please remember he loved each and every one of you and wouldn’t want you to cry over his passing. He is reunited with his wife Norma and his beloved F Troop cast and so many friends and family.

On Friday night, while watching the late news in neighboring New Jersey, New York's locally based TV stations did NOT mention the unfortunate news that we lost Larry as they focused more attention on the death of Soprano's co-star Tony Sirico and that disappointed me as home base should have taken time to let his fans know of his untimely passing and to acknowledge the many gifts he has given us during a career that spanned over seven decades. This is why I took the time to write this article because Larry was an instrumental part in giving ALL of us joy and happiness in our lives and I was lucky to experience this on a personal note as well.

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