NEW YORK – Irwin Corey, the wild-haired comedian and actor known for his improvisational riffs and nonsensical style who billed himself as “The World’s Foremost Authority,” died Monday at his home in Manhattan, according to his son, Richard.
Corey’s dizzying mix of mock-intellectual circumlocutions, earnest political tirades and slapstick one-liners made Corey the king of comedic confusion and earned him the nickname “Professor.”
Corey became a staple on television talk shows and in comedy clubs, and his film career included working with Jackie Gleason and Woody Allen.
Born in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Corey lived in an orphanage until age 13.
During the Democratic National Convention of 1956 he rode a float down Michigan Boulevard carrying a sign that read, “Professor Corey will run for any party, and he will bring his own bottle.” When Thomas Pynchon won the National Book Award for “Gravity’s Rainbow,” Corey accepted for the press-shy author in a bizarre, rambling speech that thanked “Richard Python.”
Corey stayed busy deep into the ’90s, making appearances at comedy clubs and Friar’s club roasts.