Comedic actor Arte Johnson of ‘Laugh-In’ fame dies at 90

Actor Arte Johnson attends the 15th annual Lint Roller Party in Los Angeles on Nov. 13, 2008.
(Shea Walsh / Associated Press)

Actor Arte Johnson, who won an Emmy for comedy sketch work on the television show “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” has died in Los Angeles. He was 90.

Johnson died Wednesday of heart failure after a three-year battle with bladder and prostate cancer, family representative Harlan Boll said. No services have been planned, but his ashes will be spread in a private ceremony.

Johnson became known for his catchphrase “Verrrry interesting” on “Laugh-In.” The Michigan native won an Emmy in 1969 and was nominated two more times through his work on the hit show.

One of his characters was Wolfgang, a cigarette-smoking German soldier who thought World War II was still going on.

Johnson’s other television appearances include “Bewitched,” ’'The Partridge Family,” ’'Lost in Space,” ’'Murder, She Wrote” and “The Donna Reed Show.” He also played Dracula’s sidekick in the film “Love at First Bite” and a federal agent in “The President’s Analyst.”


Johnson appeared on several game shows, including “The Gong Show,” ’'The Match Game” and “Wheel of Fortune.” He narrated more than 80 audio books and did voice-over work for “The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo,” ’'Justice League Unlimited” and “DuckTales.”

In 1954, Johnson began performing in several New York nightclubs. He landed his first job in the industry when he was cast in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” and he retired from acting in 2006.

Johnson was successfully treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1997.