Unfortunately, 2016 has claimed yet another beloved soul. Gordie Tapp, the Canadian entertainer best known as Cousin Clem on Hee Haw, has passed away.
Tapp’s Cousin Clem character first came about when he hosted the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Hee Haw equivalent, Country Hoedown. Tapp performed on the Canadian program for nine years, until the CBC encouraged him to head to Nashville.
To call Cousin Clem a hit on Hee Haw might be a bit of an understatement. Tapp starred in 90 of 306 episodes of the CBS classic, and was featured in even more from 1969 to 1988. Tapp also wrote on 78 of the 90 episodes he starred in. His time on Hee Haw led to many other accolades as well, including two hit Canadian country songs. Both “Nobody’s Singing Those Cowboy Songs Anymore” and “Many Others” had success on the Canadian country charts.
All of Tapp’s successes earned him a visit with U.S. President Gerald Ford in the 70s. When meeting President Ford, Tapp was introduced by Foster Brooks as “the world’s funniest storyteller.” Talk about high praise!
Tapp’s career was steeped in country music, appearing in films like Wild Horse Hank and Sweet Country Music, before stepping away from acting for some time. Ten years after his run on Hee Haw, Tapp received the prestigious Order of Canada and Order of Ontario. Tapp was also a member of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.
Tapp died Sunday in Burlington, Ontario after a long battle with an undisclosed illness. He was 94.