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'Night Court' judge Harry Anderson mourned by comics, co-stars

The actor famous for playing Judge Harry Stone on "Night Court" is being remembered by his TV co-stars and comic contemporaries after his death at 65.
/ Source: TODAY

Former "Night Court" co-stars and the comedy community are mourning the death of Harry Anderson, who famously played Judge Harry Stone on the hit 1980s sitcom.

Anderson, who was found dead at 65 of undisclosed causes on Monday at his home in Asheville, North Carolina, began his career as a magician before turning to comedy and becoming a television star.

Anderson first played a character named "Harry the Hat" while wearing his trademark fedora on the iconic 1980s sitcom "Cheers," and also made appearances on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson and "Saturday Night Live."

NIGHT COURT, Harry Anderson, (1985), 1984-92. (C)Warner Bros.
Harry Anderson was best known for portraying Judge Harry Stone on the 1980s hit "Night Court."Everett Collection

His most beloved role was playing a thinly-veiled version of himself as Judge Harry Stone on "Night Court" for nine seasons on NBC, for which he was nominated for three Emmys. Stone was a magician who wore fedoras and colorful ties and loved legendary crooner Mel Torme, just like Anderson in real life.

John Larroquette, who played a smarmy lawyer on "Night Court," and Markie Post, who played a public defender, both fondly remembered their beloved co-star. Marsha Warfield, who played the bailiff "Roz" on the show, also offered her condolences.

Several of his comic contemporaries like Gilbert Gottfried, Michael McKean and Paul Reiser remembered him as "a gentle soul."

Anderson followed his stint on "Night Court" by playing popular Miami Herald humorist Dave Barry on the show "Dave's World" for four seasons on CBS. Barry called him "a genuinely nice guy."

Anderson also inspired younger comics and fans of magic like Zach Braff, Judd Apatow and Neil Patrick Harris. Apatow, 50, once interviewed Anderson when he was 15, saying he was "kind, frank and hilarious."

RIP Judge Stone, and thank you for the laughs.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.