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Published:May 26th, 2008 04:46 EST
Comedian Dick Martin dead at 86

Comedian Dick Martin dead at 86

By Daniel Mabee

Dick Martin, half of the comedy team Rowan and Martin, died Saturday  of respiratory complications. He was 86.

Martin was best known for his hit variety show, "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In," which ran from 1968 to 1973. Playing the role of the straight man on the show, Martin introduced several catchphrases into the American vernacular, such as "You bet your sweet bippy," "Here comes da judge," and most famous, "Sock it to me!"

After retiring from the spotlight, Martin went on to direct sitcoms; most notably, "Newhart," which ran from 1982 to 1990.  Additionally, he was a regular on Lucielle Ball's "The Lucy Show," playing the role of next-door neighbor Harry Conners.

Martin was plagued with respiratory issues all his life, losing the use of one of his lungs at the age of 17. In his final years, he was forced to rely on oxygen tubes to breathe. According to www.cnn.com, he "simply stopped breathing," and was surrounded by friends and family when he died.

Dick Martin is survived by two sons, director Richard Martin and Cary Martin and his wife, Dolly Read.  At his request, there will be no funeral.