The final judge has come for Dick Martin, co-founder of the groundbreaking comedy show Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In and later a prolific director, the AP reports. Martin, the wacky counterpoint to partner Dan Rowan's straight man, died last night at age 86 of respiratory problems. Laugh-In, which began in 1968, launched the careers of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin and changed television comedy.
Propelling such catchphrases as "sock it to me" and "you bet your sweet bippy" into the collective consciousness, Laugh-In dominated the airwaves for several seasons. Martin toured with Rowan and appeared on game shows before finding his second calling as an acclaimed TV director, helming episodes of Newhart, Archie Bunker's Place, and Family Ties, among others. (Read more obituary stories.)