Canadian actor Gordie Tapp, a regular on "Hee Haw" has died

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BURLINGTON, Ontario (AP) — Canadian entertainer Gordie Tapp, who exercised his comedic chops as a regular on the popular American television variety series "Hee Haw," died earlier this month at age 94, the Canadian Broadcast Corp. announced. It said he died Dec. 18 from complications of pneumonia.

Born in London, Ontario, Tapp kicked off his career as a founding member of "Main Street Jamboree," a radio and TV show broadcast from Hamilton, Ontario, during the 1950s. He went on to host the CBC music-variety program "Country Hoedown" from 1956 to 1965.

Tapp eventually took his act to Nashville to appear on "Hee Haw" as the goofy Cousin Clem.

Fellow comedian Colin Mochrie once paid tribute to Tapp by saying his career was influenced in part by "Hee Haw."

"For me, it was the first show where I realized that Canadians could make it big in America. It was sort of an inspiration," said Mochrie, who appeared on the U.S. version of the television improvisation show "Whose Line Is it Anyway?"

In more recent years, Tapp was known for appearing in TV commercials and was a committed philanthropist, raising funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Easter Seals Society.

Despite his successes with "Hee Haw," Tapp was resolute about staying in Canada, said his daughter, Kate Tapp Mock.

"We were all up here and Dad didn't really think of himself as American. He was very proudly Canadian and he had enough work here," she said.

The Canadian government honored Tapp with its highest award, a member of the Order of Canada.

Tapp is survived by his wife and three children.

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