If it surprises anyone, we've lost yet another well-known name from country music.
Gordie Tapp, the Canadian comic and storyteller who became one of the mainstays on Hee Haw, died Sunday (12/18) of pneumonia in Burlington, Ontario.
By the time he came to Hee Haw in 1968 Gordon Robert Tapp was already a well-known country performer in his native country. He was featured on several programs on the CBC, including Country Hoedown. That's where he debuted the "Cousin Clem" character, the hayseed man who later became one of his most enduring roles on Hee Haw.
In addition to Cousin Clem, Tapp was Archie Campbell's duet partner on the oft-seen "Pfft! You Were Gone" routine. Tapp would stand, leaning against a pitchfork while Archie Campbell (who actually had a 45 of the song released on RCA) sang a verse. Campbell would then nudge Tapp, who'd look up with a distraught face and join in the chorus of, "Where, oh where are you tonight? Why did you leave me here all alone? I searched the world over and I thought I'd found true love. You met another and pfft! you was [sic] gone." Occasionally guest stars (ranging from Johnny Cash to Loretta Lynn) would take Tapp's place, surprising Campbell.
Tapp was also the lead writer for Hee Haw.
In 1990 Gordie Tapp was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. He was also awarded the Order of Canada in 1998.
Survivors include his wife, Helen, to whom he was married for 73 years.
Farewell to Gordie Tapp, who was 94.