ONE OF A KIND

Comic Soupy Sales Dies

Soupy Sales, the comedian with a signature pie-throwing gag, died in the Bronx on Thursday at 83. Sales, who was born Milton Supman in Franklinton, North Carolina, rose to fame in the 1960s thanks to his eponymous show and its trademark gag: the pie to the face. Sales' show was originally intended for children, but it gained a cult following, and receiving a pie in the face on the program was a badge of honor for celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Tony Curtis. Pie-throwing was not all that went on, however: besides puppet gags, parodies and character sketches, Sales would feature jazz musicians like Miles Davis on his evening program. Sales stopped producing the program in 1966, a year after his most infamous joke, when he exhorted children watching the show to "get all the green pieces of paper" from their parents' wallets and send them to him. Though Sales believe the pie gag had pigeonholed him, he had a long and varied career after the show, with stints as a radio host and Broadway star (and, once, an expert witness in a court case that involved pie-throwing). The comedian is survived by his wife, two sons, and four grandchildren.