08 December 2011

Comedian Dick Shawn, 57, Stricken
on Stage, Dies

April 18, 1987 | Times Staff Writers

Comedian Dick Shawn died at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla after apparently suffering a heart attack on stage during a performance at UC San Diego. Witnesses said Shawn, 57, was left lying on the stage for nearly five minutes before the audience realized it was not part of his act, and an ambulance was called. A hospital spokeswoman said he received cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the Scripps emergency room, but was pronounced dead at 9:55 p.m.

Guess what. I was there. Honest-to-god. I don't just make this stuff up, you know! UCSD is my alma mater.

I have to say, I don't think Dick Shawn lay there for anything near 5 minutes. That is a really long time. My friends and I were sitting in back and laughed about how it might not be an act. Ha-ha-ha. But then someone who turned out to be a doctor walked to the stage, checked it out, and said, "This man's dead."

Then, with UCSD being the hot-shot med school it is, there were about two dozen earnest med students scrambling to reach the stage. An ambulance crew came in. People were herded out. Next day, we read about it in the papers. Wow.

Dick Shawn, you sure were funny—up to, and beyond, the end.

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