Tim Conway’s wife and daughter battled in court Friday to control the care of the 84-year-old “Carol Burnett Show” actor/comedian, but a final decision was put off while Conway recovers from brain surgery in a hospital.
Daughter Kelly Conway and her stepmother, Charlene Conway, each want sole conservatorship over Tim Conway, who is almost entirely incapacitated by dementia. They were in probate court in Los Angeles as a judge considered Kelly Conway’s request for temporary conservatorship.
Judge Robert Wada ruled against her after learning that Tim Conway is recovering from brain surgery on Thursday, according to Kelly Conway’s attorney, Troy Martin. One of the reasons cited in Kelly Conway’s request for temporary conservatorship is the concern that her stepmother would move Tim Conway from his current residential facility to a different one.
That turned out to be moot given his hospitalization, Wada ruled. A hearing on the question of permanent conservatorship is set for Nov. 2, Martin said.
The Conway litigation is the latest example of a family dispute over the care of an aging Hollywood star who has been incapacitated by Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia or other illness.
In recent years, similar disputes have ended up in court, including the cases of iconic DJ Casey Kasem, who died in 2014 at age 82 with Lewy body dementia, and Marvel Comics maestro Stan Lee, 95, whose only daughter and lawyers, housekeepers, assistants and accountants have been immersed in accusations of physical, emotional and financial abuse of Lee.
Tim Conway, who once made viewers and castmates on the Burnett variety show weep with laughter over his deadpan comic delivery, is “almost entirely unresponsive,” according to court documents filed by Kelly Conway, 56, one of the six children of Tim Conway and his first wife.
Kelly Conway says she wants the power to control her father’s fate so she can block her stepmother from moving him from one nursing facility to another.
Charlene Conway denies she planned to move him. She has asked the court to reject Kelly Conway’s conservatorship request, arguing she is already seeing to his needs. Charlene Conway, who has been married to Tim for 34 years, says he signed power-of-attorney and healthcare directives designating her as his caregiver.
Martin said Kelly Conway would not comment on the court hearing Friday. Jeffrey Forer, Charlene Conway’s attorney, did not return a message from USA TODAY.
Tim Conway is best known for his comic turns in skits, often in partnership with the late comic actor Harvey Korman on “Burnett.” Some of their most memorable collaborations were accidental, as Korman often failed to restrain his laughter and broke character during his comedic partner’s zany performances. After the hit series ended its 11-season run in 1978, the duo continued performing together until Korman’s death in 2008.
Tim Conway’s acting credits span six decades. He made a comic splash as Ensign Charles Parker on “McHale’s Navy,” the 1960s sitcom about the wacky crew of a PT boat in the Pacific during World War II. After that, he was a guest star on dozens of TV comedy series, with his most recent appearance coming just a couple of years ago.
Tim Conway’s work on “Burnett” earned him four Emmys and a Golden Globe. He won two more Emmys for guest roles on “Coach” (1996) and “30 Rock” (2008).
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