Martin, 86, died Saturday "of respiratory complications while surrounded by his wife, family and friends," said his agent, Barry Greenberg.
Born in Battle Creek, Mich., Martin was half of a successful night club stand-up act with Rowan and a regular television sitcom actor when the team was tapped by NBC to host a new kind of sketch comedy show. "Laugh-In" revolutionized the genre with its hippie aesthetic, cutting-edge political humor and talented cast of future stars.
Greenberg said NBC put the show on opposite some tough competition -- "The Lucy Show" and "Gunsmoke" -- so "nobody gave the show much of a chance -- but by the eighth show, 'Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In' was the No. 1 show in the country. (It) taped 144 shows and went off the air in 1973."
Martin also had a successful post-"Laugh-In" career, producing many episodes of popular network television sitcoms such as "The Bob Newhart Show."
He is survived by his wife, former Playboy playmate Dolly Read (Martin), and by two sons.
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