CUNDY's HARBOR, ME (CelebrityAccess) — Bob Elliott, who was half of the comedy team Bob and Ray, known for their distinctive deadpan humor, and a fixture on radio and television for 40 years, died at his Maine home on Tuesday. He was 92.
His death was confirmed by his son actor and comedian Chris Elliott, who said his father had had throat cancer, the New York Times reported.
Elliott and his comedy partner Ray Goulding, were known for their understated comedy, relying on dry wit as opposed to caustic sarcasm.
Elliott got his start in the entertainment industry with a brief stint as an announcer at Boston radio station WHDH before he served in the army in Europe during World War II. After he completed his service, he returned to WHDH where he met Goulding, who had recently been hired as a D.J. for the station's morning show.
The pair hit it off, with Elliott telling Whitney Balliett of The New Yorker in 1982 that their comedy began as ad-libbing between records to amuse themselves.
WHDH soon gave the pair their own show, “Matinee With Bob and Ray" which proved to be enough of a hit that they landed a second, Breakfast With Bob and Ray.”
Five years later, they took their show to NBC Radio in New York and eventually made a transition to television, appearing on shows such as Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson, Steve Allen, David Letterman and others.
The pair returned to radio in 1982 with a show on NPR called “The Bob and Ray Public Radio Show” and continued to broadcast until Goulding's failing health interfered. Goulding died in 1990.
After Goulding's death, Elliott continued working, appearing as a cast member of Garrison Keillor’s “American Radio Company of the Air,” which briefly replaced “A Prairie Home Companion” on public radio, as well as appearances in film and movies such as the Bill Murray movie “Quick Change.”
The duo was recognized with three Peabody Awardsover the course of their career and were inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1984 and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.
Elliott was survived by his son Chris Elliot; another son, Robert Jr.; three daughters, Colony Elliott Santangelo, Amy Elliott Andersen and Shannon Elliott; 11 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren, the New York Times said. – Staff writers