Tom Smothers of the Smothers Brothers Music & Comedy Duo Dies at 86

Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour Tom Smothers Dick Smothers 1967-1969
Everett Collection

Tom Smothers, the oldest of the Smother Brothers duo, has passed away at the age of 86. He reportedly died of lung cancer. His brother and co-star of Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour released a statement and shared the sad news with fans.

Dick Smothers wrote, “Tom was not only the loving older brother that everyone would want in their life, he was a one-of-a-kind creative partner. I am forever grateful to have spent a lifetime together with him, on and off stage, for over 60 years. Our relationship was like a good marriage – the longer we were together, the more we loved and respected one another. We were truly blessed.”

Tom Smothers during CBS at 75 at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, New York, United States

Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images

Smothers was born in 1937 and attended school in California. During his teenage years, he was a competitive unicyclist as well as a state-champion gymnast in the parallel bars. He played music with his brother and initially, they wanted to be a folk musician duo. However, Tom felt like they weren’t good enough musically and decided to add some comedy to their act. His first television appearance was on The Steve Allen Show as a regular in the 1960s.

In 1965, the brothers got their very own sitcom on CBS called The Smothers Brothers Show. The show only ran for one year because they wanted more creative control over their show, which led to the creation of the variety show called The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967. They often fought with CBS to sneak in jokes about things like recreational drugs which were often censored during that time period.

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour The 20th Reunion Dick Smothers, Tom Smothers, 1988

CBS/Everett Collection

Perhaps one of their most iconic performances was with John Lennon in the recording of “Give Peace a Chance.” After their variety show ended in 1969, Tom acted a bit in films such as Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972) and There Goes the Bride (1980). He also became very involved in politics. The brothers reunited a few times over the years for performances and were honored with a special Emmy in 2008. The brothers were on tour this year but sadly, Tom was diagnosed with stage 2 lung cancer which led to his death.

He is survived by his wife Marcy Carriker, their two children, one son from his first marriage, one grandson, his brother Dick and sister Sherry.

Classic Comedy Duos
Want More?

Classic Comedy Duos

March 2021

Chuckle at television & films funniest comic duos.

Buy This Issue