Soupy Sales Dies at 83

Friday, October 23, 2009

Entertainer and comedian Milton Supman, known by his stage name Soupy Sales, died Thursday night in New York. He was 83-years-old. Sales died in hospice at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx.

America will remember Sales for his improv and slapstick comedy, and particularly for the tens of thousands of shaving cream pies he took to the face.

"A pie has to hit you and explode into a thousand pieces," The Los Angeles Times reported Sales said of his signature act. "So you see the person's face and see it take away his dignity."

Kids and parents got to know his slapstick hijinks on Lunch with Soupy, also known as The Soupy Sales Show. Sales got hit with pies during that half-hour kids TV show, gave daily "Words of Wisdom," and wrote skits which featured wacky animal hand puppets named White Fang, Hippy the Hippo, Willy the Worm and Black Tooth.

New Year's Day 1965, Sales was doing the show at a New York station when he asked kids to take all the green pieces of paper with bearded guys on them, the dollar bills, from their mothers' pocketbooks and mail them to him, care of the station. In return, Sales said he would send each of the children postcards from Puerto Rico.

"I've never done anything simply because I thought I could get away with it," The Times reported Sales told author Gary Grossman. "I've just wanted to do the funniest show."

Sales also starred in a late-night comedy show, Soupy's On, which aired weeknights in the 1950s, Reuters reported. Jazz legends Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk all performed on the show.

He is survived by his wife, Trudy, and by his two sons, Hunt and Tony, who played with David Bowie's Tin Machine.

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