Richard Schaal was a comedian who was a pioneer of Chicago's Second City school of improv. He appeared in a variety of TV comedies, such as "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (CBS 1961-66) and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (CBS 1970-77). Schaal was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 5th, 1928 to a machinist father and a telephone operator mother. His first occupation was in construction, but he soon turned to drama. He enrolled in The Second City, the pioneering improv comedy school founded by Bernard Sahlins, shortly after it opened in 1959. Schaal's comedy was less cerebral than many of his contemporaries, such as Mike Nichols and Elaine May; his talents were in the realm of physical comedy and miming. Schaal eventually moved to Los Angeles and appeared in a variety of TV shows; his most notable roles included TV entertainer Chuckles the Clown on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and the abrasive Charlie on its spin-off "Rhoda" (CBS 1974-78), which starred Schaal's second wife, Valerie Harper, whom he married in 1964. Schaal's daughter from a previous marriage, Wendy Schaal, went on to become an actress and voiceover artist. In addition to his small-screen work, Schaal appeared in the comedy war film "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming" (1966), and George Roy Hill's adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five" (1972). His last notable film role came in the horror comedy "Once Bitten" (1985), in which he played the father of the main character, a young man (played by a Canadian comic named Jim Carrey, in his first leading role) seduced by a comely vampire. Schaal continued to take on small TV roles until his retirement in 1990. He passed away in Woodland Hills, CA at age 86 on November 4, 2014.
Cast (Feature Film)
Appeared in "The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming."
Appeared On "Rhoda," starring his then-wife Valerie Harper.