PAUL LYNDE, American actor born (d. 1982); The ‘Franklin Pangborn’ of our time, Lynde was an American comedian and character actor. He was well known for his roles as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched and Harry McAfee, the befuddled father in the Broadway musical Bye Bye Birdie.

Lynde was affectionately (and disingenuously) nicknamed “America’s Most Eligible Bachelor” by the public. And we all know what that means. In 1966, Lynde debuted on the fledgling game show Hollywood Squares. Eventually he assumed a permanent spot as the “center square,” a move which ensured that he would be called upon by contestants at least once in almost every round.

It was here that Lynde was best able to showcase his comedic talents with short, salty one-liners. Many of these gags were thinly-veiled allusions to his sexuality. Others relied on double entendres, a fondness for deviant behaviors, or dealt with “touchy” subject matter for television. Even the more generic punchlines were often punched up by Lynde’s trademark snickering delivery.

In 1965, Lynde was involved in an accident where a young actor and Lynde’s long-term companion fell to his death from the window of Lynde’s hotel room in San Francisco. The two had been drinking for hours before 24-year old Bing Davidson either jumped or fell eight stories. Even though the scandal did not ruin his career, this incident did offer insight into the precarious life of drinking and partying that Lynde enjoyed. This writer personally saw much of this similar behavior when working as doorman for the disco Cabaret/After Dark, frequented by Lynde, along with an entourage of rent-boys, all highly inebriated and abusive.

Lynde was found dead in his Beverly Hills home by friend Paul Barresi in January, 1982. Lynde is interred next to his brother Johnny and Bing Davidson at Amity Cemetery in Knox County, Ohio, some eight miles northeast of Paul’s hometown.

Peter Marshall: Paul, why do Hell’s Angels wear leather?
Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.
Peter Marshall: If the right part comes along, will George C. Scott do a nude scene?
Paul Lynde: You mean he doesn’t have the right part?
Peter Marshall: During the War of 1812, Captain Oliver Perry made the famous statement, “We have met the enemy and…” What?
Paul Lynde: They are cute.
Peter Marshall: Burt Reynolds is quoted as saying, “Dinah (Shore)’s in top form. I’ve never known anyone to be so completely able to throw herself into a…” A what?
Paul Lynde: A headboard.
Peter Marshall: It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics. What is the other?
Paul Lynde: Tape measures.