The funnyman, who appeared in 90 episodes on the long running variety show Hee Haw, has sadly passed away at the age of 94.
Canadian actor Gordie Tapp was best known to Americans as country bumpkin Cousin Clem on the beloved show Hee Haw. His character was introduced to us after a nine year stint as the host of the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s country variety show, Country Hoedown. He was encouraged by the network to head to Nashville and try his hand at Hee Haw. Of his 90 appearances between 1969-1988, he had writing credits on 78 episodes. Although his most famous role was Cousin Clem, Tapp also played the characters Samuel B. Sternwheeler, Mr. Gordon the storekeeper, and Lavern Nagger on Hee Haw.
Tapp got his start in the entertainment business in the radio industry in Canada and moved to TV in the 1950s and 1960s. Following his Hee Haw success, he released two singles in Canada. 1971’s”Nobody’s Singing Them Cowboy Songs No More” peaked at No. 10 on the Canadian Country charts, and 1972’s “Many Others” peaked at No. 44.
In 1979, he appeared in the film Wild Horse Hank and in 1983, he wrote and appeared in the Canadian film Sweet Country Music. Throughout his career, he has partnered with countless charities and emceed many events on cruise ships and in retirement homes, all for charity.
The last few years of his life, he and his wife, Helen, resided at LaSalle Park retirement home.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know Gordie over the last few years. From the moment he and Helen came to our presentation centre and since they moved to LaSalle Park Retirement Community in March 2014,” said Margaret Milley, executive director at LaSalle Park, according to Muskoka Region.“Gordie had in incredible and inexplicable energy about him. It was an absolute delight to be in his company and he was always prepared to make us laugh with so many of his jokes. We are sad to say goodbye to a dear friend and neighbor. Gordie will be missed by all of our staff, residents and everyone in the LaSalle Park family.”
Tapp passed away on Sunday, December 18 at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, Ontario, Canada due to a long battle with an undisclosed illness. He is survived by his wife, their son, and two daughters. In January, Helen and Gordie would have celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary.
Our prayers go out to Gordie Tapp’s family. Watch him perform as Cousin Clem below.