The actor was 78 and is remembered for his raunchy nightclub routines, charity work and his character turns in the films, "The Music Man" (singing "Shipoopi") and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." In 1964's I Had a Ball, he played Garside the Great in the Coney Island-set show about Runyonesque characters and a crystal ball that tells the future. Karen Morrow, Rosetta LeNoire and Richard Kiley were his co-stars in the show that ran six months and spawned a cast album (as many short-lived B-grade shows did in those days). Lloyd Richards directed.
The Brooklyn-born, baby-voiced Mr. Hackett appeared in nightclubs, TV and film over the years. A new generation of audiences would come to know his improv-fueled standup work with HBO specials.
His Broadway debut was a 1954 farce called Lunatics and Lovers, for which he received a Donaldson Award. He produced an evening called Eddie Fisher and Buddy Hackett at the Palace in 1967. He also appeared in a 1960 Broadway comedy, Viva Madison Avenue!
Mr. Hackett, born Leonard Hacker to a father who was a furniture designer and a mother who designed neckties, made his professional stage debut in a tour of Call Me Mister in 1948.
He was the star of a TV series, "Stanley," in 1956, and had a late-career TV role in the Fox series, "Action." Among his films were "Walking My Baby Back Home," "Muscle Beach Party," "Everything's Ducky," "All Hands on Deck" and "The Shoes."