Tim Conway Autographed at Horse Races

I never met Tim Conway or got his autograph, but I had a number of times I could have. A guy I played racquetball with for 15 years, was a big deal at the Del Mar racetrack. He’s sit in the exclusive “turf club” where a number of famous people were. Since I didn’t bet on the ponies, I rarely went with him. But every time I did, I’d witness an autograph incident. One time it was celebrity couple Anne Bancroft (The Graduate) and Mel Brooks. I watched as someone approached with pen and paper in hand. Brooks snapped, “I’m not signing any autographs.” The guy, without missing a beat, said “I didn’t want your autograph, I want hers.”

She laughed as she signed her name.

I had been given strict orders by my buddy not to pester the famous folks, but I regret not getting their signatures.

Another time, Vic Tayback (Mel from the show “Alice”), was sitting there. He had a purple shirt, purple sunglasses, and a purple hat. He was puffing on a cigar (back when you could still smoke in places). A woman approached and asked for his autograph and he was being flirtatious with her. When she said, “Is everything you have purple?” He immediately let out a belly laugh and said something like “I can show you something else that’s purple!”

Everyone sitting around him laughed.

Of course, Tim Conway was often at the track. His love of the horses is legendary. And he was always signing autographs. This afternoon, I heard radio station KFI 640 AM in Los Angeles (where Tim Conway, Jr. hosts a funny show in the evenings), tell some Conway stories. One caller said he worked as an usher at the Turf Club, and people would always hand him programs to take up to Conway for him to autograph. He said Conway always did, and people would often give him a few dollars as a tip for doing that. One day Conway showed up with a stack of programs and gave them to the guy saying, “Here, this will help you pay your college tuition.”

The guy responded, “Well, they’re not signed.”

Conway smiled and said, “Here’s a pen, start signing. You know how to spell my name. It’s T-I-M  C-O-N-W-A-Y.”

His comedy, and autograph signing, will be missed.

Views: 205

Tags: Alice, Anne Bancroft, Del Mar, Mel Brooks, Tim Conway, Vic Tayback

Comment by Jason Strecker on May 15, 2019 at 4:13pm

Great stories as usual! Especially the Tim Conway and Mel Brooks. Funny considering now in his advanced age dealers get Mel's autograph in person and even on multiple and Mel seems to have no problems.

I'm glad to hear Tim was so accessible even if it was a more private affair. He was automatic thru the mail and it seems the autographs were real (compared to most other celebrity fakes that I wound up getting early into my collecting). I can't remember if Harvey Korman was a regular mail signer but I seem to recall he wasn't, I could be wrong, but when someone wrote Tim and sent a dual photo of the two and they happened to be performing together Tim would get Harvey to sign the photo as well. It's a shame this dementia disease claims so many people but I can only hope it doesn't turn the Conway family against each other over his estate as it normally seems to do with celebrities who passed while experiencing dementia.

Comment by Josh Board on May 15, 2019 at 7:34pm

Thanks for the kind words, Jason. I forgot...I had another Tim Conway story I completely forgot about. My late grandmother was from Cleveland, and she had a purse shop. Tim and his first wife often came in, and were very nice (they were already famous from a show on TV in Cleveland). And, right next to her purse shop, Paul Newman's dad had a sports store (they lived in a rich area called Shaker Heights). She said Paul was great looking, even as a kid.

Comment by Robert Babb on May 19, 2019 at 3:26am

nice story josh! tim Conway will be missed.he was one of my favorites. it is kind of funny that he wasn't made a regular but a guest star on the carol burnett show until almost the last season of the show. it also ironic that vicki Lawrence was here in warsaw last Saturday night doing here mama comedy show. all the best to you josh!

Comment by Josh Board on May 19, 2019 at 7:17am

I can understand that, Bob. Sometimes you have someone as a guest, and they become the funniest thing (or with a band, the person people like the most). When the show was first assembled, who knows. He might not have even been on their radar. Saturday Night Live didn't have Bill Murray on their first season. They turned down other people that went on to bigger things. They friggin' fired The Muppets AND Iron Man! So...you really never know until fans express a big interest or something takes off.

Regarding Vicki Lawrence, she's always been a great signer in person and is nice.

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