Comedian and actor Irwin Corey had just recovered from sickness and was sent home from the hospital earlier this year, following signs of recovery. His daughter-in-law told NPR that Corey passed away Monday morning. According to the New York Times, this news was confirmed by his son Richard Corey. "The World's Foremost Authority," as the media refers to him, was famous for his alter-ego: an absent-minded professor.

A professor, an educated clown, 'The World's Foremost Authority'

Don’t let the homeless appearance fool you. Despite his unkempt hair, poor fashion, and old age, Mr. Corey was still performing regularly in his late 90s.

His alter ego charade as the “Professor” had been a trademark of his since the 1940s. His daily routines included playing at local clubs and a side gig of street panhandling. His agent Irvin Arthur told the Times: “This is not about money. For Irwin, this is an extension of his performing.”

Kenneth Tynan, an international theater critic, was quoted on Irwin Corey's website describing him as, “a cultural clown, a parody of literacy, a travesty of all that our civilization holds dear and one of the funniest grotesques in America. He is Chaplin’s clown with a college education.” Mr. Corey's performances include appearances on talk shows with Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Ed Sullivan, and scripted radio shows.

Irwin's last days and his documented final years

According to a story published by the New York Times in 2011, Mr. Corey continued to be productive in his 90s. He performed regularly, maintained a side income job, and even after he was not able to continue his side job he remained visible and recognizable in the public eye. A documentary featuring him and his wife “Irwin & Fran” was launched in 2014, as Irwin turned 100 years old.

The biography section of Irwin Corey's website includes the following line: “He is proud of the fact that he and his five brothers and sisters are alumni of the Brooklyn Hebrew Orphan Asylum, and that he is the former 112-pound boxing champion of the Civilian Conservation Corps.” His documentary won The People’s Film Festival Best Film Award in 2013.

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