King of the Hill star Johnny Hardwick has died.
The animated show, which ran from 1997 through to 2010, followed the life of propane salesman Hank Hill and his quirky family in the fictional town of Arlen, Texas.
The series explores the challenges and humour of middle-class suburban living, touching on themes of friendship, family, and community.
With its distinct characters, witty satire, and down-to-earth charm, King of the Hill captures the essence of American suburban life with a blend of humour and heart.
Hardwick was the voice actor who brought Dale Gribble, the quirky conspiracy theorist neighbour of Hank Hill, to life on the show.
He lent his voice to Gribble for a whopping 258 episodes of the show.
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Tragically, news broke that the 64-year-old had been found dead at his Texas residence on Tuesday following a welfare check by local police.
Hardwick was declared deceased at the scene.
The exact cause of his passing remains a mystery, though, as reported by TMZ.
There is also no foul play suspected.
Paying tribute, King of the Hill co-creator Mike Judge said: “I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend Johnny Hardwick.
“He was a great writer, actor and comedian, and he will be deeply missed.”
One fan of the show wrote on social media: “RIP Johnny Hardwick. The greatest line delivery of the greatest joke in history. Too funny and too talented.”
Another added: “This one stings real bad. Johnny was funny AF, and the King of the Hill reboot just wouldn’t be the same without him.”
A third said: “Incredibly saddened to hear of Johnny’s passing. He was a great voice actor, especially in King of the Hill as Dale. Rest in peace.”
Hardwick was something of a jack of all trades in the world of animation.
He didn’t just voice Dale Gribble – he also wore the writer’s hat, served as a story editor and even produced the show.
He also wracked up an impressive four Emmy nominations for his efforts, showing just how much his work was cherished.
In 1999, he won an Emmy for his production role on King of the Hill.
Hardwick hailed from Austin, Texas.
He started his journey at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where he walked away with a degree in journalism.
And Johnny’s path soon took him from behind bars in Dallas and Austin to the bright stages of stand-up comedy in 1990.
He was a trailblazer who marked his territory on the Jon Stewart Show as the very first stand-up comedian to make an appearance.
His comedy talents didn’t go unnoticed, leading him to cross paths with NBC president Brandon Tartikoff during the Montreal Comedy Festival in 1995.
NBC gave him a sitcom opportunity, but Hardwick’s Green Acres and Get A Life-inspired pitch didn’t quite fit the bill.
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Undeterred, he then went to the Strauss-McGarr agency, kicking off a vibrant stand-up career that had him cracking up audiences all across the US.
After a side-splitting stint at the Laugh Factory in LA, he caught the eye of Greg Daniels and Judge, the masterminds behind King of the Hill.
They offered him a writing gig on the show, and Hardwick was set from there.
Interestingly, Hardwick only landed the role of Gribble after Daniel Stern passed on the opportunity.
More recently, Hardwick spread his creative wings even further with his very own YouTube channel.
Decked out in his signature shades and orange cap, he treated fans to song parodies and monologues channelling his beloved character Gribble.
Watch our Video of the Day below…