Richard Schaal, one of the original members of Chicago’s Second City comedy theater and a frequent guest star on television comedies like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, died Tuesday, Nov. 4, according to his daughter Wendy Schaal.
“His physical comedy was unparalleled. He loved to teach and he inspired a generation of actors and improvisers,” Andrew Alexander, the current owner of Second City, told the Chicago Tribune.
Schaal passed away at the Motion Picture and Television Fund retirement home in Woodland Hills, California. The cause of death was not disclosed.
Part of Second City’s second-ever class, Schaal quickly gained a reputation for being a “space man”—someone in sketch comedy who can make a scene feel real and complex through miming.
In addition to his sketch work, Schaal has left a long legacy on some of television’s most important comedies, including playing four characters on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He played twin brothers Howard and Paul Arnell, as well as Dino and Chuckles the Clown. He also guest starred on that show’s spinoffs Phyllis and Rhoda, as well as on several other series including The Bob Newhart Show.
Wendy is Schaal’s daughter from his first marriage to Lois Tracey. He later married Mary Tyler Moore/Rhoda actress Valerie Harper in 1964, and the two remained together until their divorce in 1978.
Schaal is survived by his daughter Wendy.