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[Deathwatch] Foster Brooks, comedian, 89

DEATHS ELSEWHERE: Foster Brooks was comedian
Los Angeles Times 

LOS ANGELES -- Comedian Foster Brooks, a one-time television newscaster
who became an "overnight success" at the age of 59 after creating a
comic drunk act that made him a favorite in Las Vegas showrooms and on
television variety shows, has died. He was 89. 

Brooks died Thursday of natural causes in Los Angeles. 

The comedian, who played the dignified guy who knows he's had one
cocktail too many but is trying hard not to let anybody else know it,
is best remembered for his frequent appearances on "Dean Martin's
Celebrity Roasts," where he'd be introduced as a "friend" of the
celebrity honoree. 

The silver-haired, bearded Brooks was so good at acting inebriated on
stage that few fans and interviewers could resist asking him if
personal experience had contributed to his getting the character down
so well. 

"He'd tell them it did," said Brooks' daughter, Teri Elmendorf. 

When he was a younger man, she said, he was a weekend drinker. But in
the early 1960s, she said, "he just one day cold turkey stopped
drinking and smoking. 

"He always said if he hadn't done that he wouldn't have made it" in
show business. 

Elmendorf said recovering alcoholics would often approach her father
and tell him that his drunk portrayal "gave them the laughter they
needed to get through their recovery."