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Tim Conway's Second Wife Had a 'Tragic' Legal Battle with His Daughter over His Medical Care

Junie Sihlangu
Sep 01, 2021
11:06 A.M.
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Comedic actor Tim Conway's last years on Earth were filled with arguments and court appearances as his second wife battled with his child from another marriage for conservatorship over the star.

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Tim Conway was an actor that had a long-spanning and successful career. He received 13 Emmy Award nominations, where he won six of them and had a longstanding role on "The Carol Burnett Show."

The star was also nominated for his supporting performer role in comedy or variety series. He managed to take the Primetime Emmy Award several times, including in 1973, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1996, and 2008.

Tim Conway on the People's Choice Awards show in Los Angeles on February 20, 1978 | Photo: CBS/Getty Images

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THE HUMOROUS MAN

Tim made a name for himself using his humor. He was so hilarious and a crowd favorite that one of his skits got co-stars like Harvey Korman to start laughing while Tim was in the middle of his role.

The late star was also known for his ad-lib bits. He probably helped other stars develop their comedic sides because he often challenged his co-stars to push the limits of their skills.

Charlene Fusso and Tim Conway at the 5th Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize presentation ceremony on October 29, 2002, in Washington D.C. | Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

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SOME OF HIS CREDITS

Tim was already working in sitcoms in the 1960s. He also starred in around a dozen Disney films and spent 11 years working on "The Carol Burnett Show" before winning his sixth Emmy Award in 2008.

The star won it for his guest role on "30 Rock." For those who didn't know, Tim also had the pleasure of doing voice-over work on "SpongeBob SquarePants" as Barnacle Boy and did the same for "Scooby-Doo."

Charlene Fusso and Tim Conway at the TV Land Awards at Barker Hangar on March 13, 2005, in Santa Monica, California | Photo: Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

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TIM'S COMEDIC BACKGROUND

During a PBS TV series "Backstage With" interview in 2010, the late star revealed how he'd been destined to do what he did. He jokingly confessed that there was nothing else he was capable of doing other than what he did.

Tim also shared how he'd gotten his humor from his parents, who didn't even know they were funny. He used his dyslexia to make people laugh by trying to read and was the class clown.

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NO PROFESSIONAL TRAINING

Tim once admitted that he actually didn't have any formal or professional training. He confessed that while speaking about his acting experience after being cast as an actor in "McHale's Navy."

The late star said he just had a good sense of humor and had performed with microphones on stage but had no experience outside of that. He hadn't done any films, series, or anything like that.

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THE START OF A LONG CAREER

Besides acting, the legendary actor also had the opportunity to serve his country by joining the army. After he came back from duty, he was lucky to work at a television station in Cleveland.

He got the role when someone arranged for him to audition for Steve Allen. That's when Tim's career was jumpstarted with a part on "McHale's Navy," where he appeared on 73 episodes.

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CONWAY'S RELATIONSHIPS

Clearly, his humor worked like a charm as he was married twice before his death. His first wife was Mary Anne Dalton, whom he married in 1961 until their divorce in 1978. Together they had seven children.

The iconic star's second wife was Charlene Conway, who tied the knot with the actor in 1984 until he passed in 2019. They never bore children together but lived happily in Encino, California, until his death.

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One of Tim and Dalton's children, Tim Conway, Jr., actually followed in his father's footsteps into the entertainment industry. The last report about him said that he was working as a radio host for KFI Los Angeles.

DAUGHTER & WIFE'S COURT BATTLE

In 2018, the actor was sadly diagnosed with dementia and subsequently needed brain surgery. However, his condition led to a legal conservatorship dispute between his second wife and his daughter, Kelly.

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Kelly wanted temporary conservatorship over her father because she was concerned about her stepmother's medical decisions. However, her petition was rejected by the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Ultimately, Charlene was appointed as the 85-year-old actor's conservator. Kelly had wanted to stop her stepmother from transferring her father from an "excellent skilled nursing facility" to one where she worried provided fewer services.

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KELLY'S REACTION TO LOSING COURT CASE

A week after Kelly filed her petition in August 2018, she was given a temporary restraining order. The order prevented her stepmother from moving Tim to a new residence despite her petition for being denied.

In March 2019, USA Today revealed how Kelly was "very happy" with the court case outcome. According to Kelly's publicist, Roger Neal, she was allowed to see her father and meet his healthcare professionals.

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Charlene, Tim's wife of 35 years, was granted conservatorship over him after both parties reached an agreement. It was noted that the star couldn't independently make decisions about his health.

The late actor's [Tim Conway] daughter [Kelly Conway] said she hadn't spoken to Charlene [Conway] since her father's funeral.

CONWAY'S DEATH

Tim sadly passed away on May 14, 2019, due to water in the brain shortly after the dispute over his healthcare proxy was settled. He was diagnosed with dementia due to normal pressure hydrocephalus.

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KELLY'S MEMOIR & UPDATE

The late star's daughter, Kelly, eventually wrote a memoir about the ordeal she had with her father and stepmother. "My Dad's Funnier Than Your Dad: Growing up with Tim Conway in the Funniest House in America" also covers her childhood.

Speaking to Page Six in November 2021, Tim's daughter called the court battle between her and Charlene "tragic." She felt the whole conservatorship thing could've been handled in a calmer and better manner.

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Tim's daughter revealed that she'd loved Charlene because her father had loved his second wife. However, their relationship deteriorated over simple things – like the food Kelly brought her father when he first got sick.

The late actor's daughter said she hadn't spoken to Charlene since her father's funeral. Kelly claimed she and her siblings weren't even sure they would be invited to the funeral and threw a reception afterward at Tim's favorite pizza place.

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