Watermelon-Smashing Comedian Gallagher Dies at 76

Comedian Leo Gallagher has died at the age of 76 from organ failure while in hospice care, according to his family and his manager. He had been in ill health for a while, suffering numerous heart attacks over the years, beginning as far back as 2012.

Gallagher had become a household name in the ’80s when his most famous bit involved a hand-made sledgehammer he called the “Sledge-O-Matic,” which he would use to smash food on stage, spraying the audience. The act started as a parody of “Veg-o-Matic” commercials.

A North Carolina native, he earned a chemical engineering degree from the University of South Florida before moving to Los Angeles and developing his comedy act at legendary venue The Comedy Store.

Gallagher was the number one comedian in America for 15 years, with comedy specials airing on Showtime and MTV. His comedy stand-up special “An Uncensored Evening” was the first to ever air on cable television. In his career spanning decades, Gallagher hosted 14 Showtime specials and around 3,500 live comedy shows.