Tim Conway Changed His Name for a Hollywood Career

Junie Sihlangu
May 15, 2019
11:54 A.M.

A never-before-seen interview has revealed that Tim Conway once changed his name to accommodate his acting career. The interview was left on the cutting room floor of the documentary “Wait for Your Laugh.”


The on-camera interview was the last one Tim Conway had before he passed away. He revealed that he was never supposed to be a TV star.

The star confessed: “I wanted to be a jockey. But at this weight even the horses ask you to get off.” He added: “[Dick Van Dyke Show star] Rose Marie is responsible for my being here, not in this chair, but in Hollywood.”

The legendary actress, Marie, passed away in late 2017 at the age of 94. Conway also recalled meeting her while doing promos for "The Dick Van Dyke Show” at a Cleveland TV station.


At the time, Conway was working there and the pair built a smooth bond which included friendly banter. She ended up recommending him for the ’60s talk show host Steve Allen’s new show.

In the interview, Marie shared: “I met him, I said ‘You’re funny’ … I said, ‘Do you have anything on tape?'” Conway responded: “I have a band-aid on my foot.”

Showing an interest, he compiled a tape of his radio and TV skits and Marie sent them to Allen. Conway revealed: “Steve [had] the original ‘Tonight Show.’ She showed it to Steve,” and the rest was history.


“We changed it to Tim..."

He then had appearances on “The Steve Allen Show,” and he was later asked to feature on the WWII sitcom “McHale’s Navy.” That eventually led to “The Carol Burnett Show.”

Tim Conway | Photo: Getty Images

Tim Conway | Photo: Getty Images

The legendary actress also had him change his name from Tom Conway to Tim Conway. She said: “His name is Tom Conway,” adding “We changed it to Tim because there is a Tom Conway who’s a movie actor.”

Marie recalled: “His family came out here [to L.A.], I became his oldest daughter Kelly’s godmother.” The pair remained close friends until she passed away.


Conway revealed: “She told me about the business.” He continued: “I would go over to her house for dinner. I’ve never had so much food in all my life.”

Marie added: “And that’s the story of Tim Conway,” sharing “He became a big star.” Conway sadly died on Tuesday in Los Angeles at the age of 85.

Before his death, he’d suffered complications from Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) but had no signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

“The Carol Burnett Show” ran from 1967 to 1978 and Conway became a full-time cast member from 1975. Carol Burnett was heartbroken to learn about his passing.

She said: “He was one in a million, not only as a brilliant comedian but as a loving human being,” adding “I cherish the times we had together both on the screen and off. He’ll be in my heart forever.”

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