Voice of Dale Gribble on ‘King of the Hill’ Johnny Hardwick Dies at 64
Johnny Hardwick, the comedian, writer and producer best known for his performance as Dale Gribble on King of the Hill, was found dead in his Texas home Tuesday, as confirmed by TMZ.
Law enforcement visited Hardwick’s home after being called for a welfare check, finding the actor and writer unresponsive. Hardwick was pronounced dead at the scene, and, at this time, no foul play is suspected, though no cause of death has yet been reported.
An Austin, Texas native, Hardwick joined the King of the Hill writing staff when co-creator Greg Daniels saw him performing stand-up comedy. Hardwick would soon lend his talents to the voice cast, where his portrayal of Dale would become a fan favorite and one of the most memorable performances in all of animated comedy.
Hardwick played the conspiracy-crazed exterminator, bounty hunter and chain smoker in 258 of the total 259 episodes of King of the Hill, uttering the most iconic and immortalized lines in the show’s entire run along the way.
Hardwick is the second main cast member of King of the Hill to pass away after Brittany Murphy, the voice of the ditzy but well-meaning Luanne Platter, died at just 32 in 2009. Hardwick’s passing potentially puts the long-awaited King of the Hill revival season in jeopardy — no statement has yet been made by the show’s co-creators Daniels and Mike Judge or Hulu regarding Hardwick’s passing.