Tim Conway’s daughter remembers authorized battle with stepmom over ‘Carol Burnett Present’ star’s care: ‘It was a large number’

Tim Conway’s daughter recalls legal battle with stepmom over ‘Carol Burnett Show’ star’s care: ‘It was a mess’

2021-12-05 20:18:15

Life with Tim Conway was like a “enjoyable circus” for his daughter Kelly Conway – but it surely was no laughing matter when it got here to his care within the later years.

The comic who received 4 Emmys on Carol Burnett’s selection present, starred aboard “McHale’s Navy” and voiced the function of Barnacle Boy for “SpongeBob SquarePants” died in 2019 at age 85. Shortly earlier than his loss of life, Kelly’s stepmother, Charlene Conway, was granted conservatorship, ending a prolonged authorized battle over his care.

Conway and his first spouse, Mary Anne Dalton, have been married in 1961 and had six youngsters. The wedding led to 1978. The star remarried to Charlene in 1984 and so they remained collectively till his loss of life.

Most lately, Kelly wrote a memoir titled “My Dad’s Funnier than Your Dad: Rising Up with Tim Conway within the Funniest Home of America,” which is because of hit bookshelves on Dec. 30. Charlene didn’t instantly reply to Fox Information’ request for remark concerning the e book and the allegations made by Kelly.


Kelly Conway wrote a memoir about what it was like rising up with Tim Conway
(Courtesy of Kelly Conway)

Kelly spoke to Fox Information about what it was actually like rising up with the beloved comedian, his ultimate years and the way she coped after his loss of life.

Fox Information: What impressed you to write down this memoir now?
Kelly Conway: I didn’t have plans in my life to do that in any respect – ever. However I used to be approached after my dad handed away. At first, I mentioned no as a result of I didn’t know if anybody would have an interest. And with time, I don’t know. The factor is, each time somebody meets me for the primary time, they at all times ask, “What was it like rising up together with your dad?” So I believed it was time to reply that precise query in my e book.

Fox Information: When did you first understand that your father was completely different from different dads?
Conway: I feel it took some time for me to comprehend it as a result of we grew up in Encino, which within the ‘70s was so distant from the town of Los Angeles. We have been regular neighbors with a traditional upbringing. Each of my mother and father are from the Midwest, so we have been raised as if we have been nonetheless there. Nobody handled me in another way. I knew my dad had a job that made him glad and it was good. We had some celeb mates, however we handled them like household.

Kelly Conway grew up with five brothers.

Kelly Conway grew up with 5 brothers.
(Courtesy of Kelly Conway)

Fox Information: It feels like your father was simply as humorous at house as he was on display.
Conway: Oh sure, he was precisely the identical at house. That’s why we had such a enjoyable upbringing. He wouldn’t come house and alter personalities. The video games and circus environment continued proper at house! And it was a blast. I keep in mind that each time we might go to the grocery retailer, he would attempt to maintain me and my 5 brothers quiet by turning it right into a sport. And sure, he would take all of us to the grocery retailer. He would say, “Whoever catches probably the most groceries that I throw over the aisle with their cart will get 10 {dollars}.” Everyone bought a cart and simply circled the aisles scrambling.


Fox Information: How was it being the one woman within the household?
Conway: I had such a particular relationship with my dad. He was my greatest pal on this planet. We spoke on a regular basis and he at all times wished to test in on me. He was very candy to me. If I ever had an issue, say in school or one thing, he at all times discovered a strategy to make me really feel higher, even when it was so simple as getting a sizzling canine collectively. I miss that a lot.

Fox Information: What’s a enjoyable reality about your dad that will shock followers right now?
Conway: He had a stitching machine and he would make slipcovers, curtains and pillows for the lounge. If he had sufficient material, he would do all of it in a day. He made his personal sport coat as soon as and wore it to dinner that very same evening.

Kelly Conway said she had a warm and loving relationship with her father.

Kelly Conway mentioned she had a heat and loving relationship together with her father.
(Courtesy of Kelly Conway)

Fox Information: It feels like he by no means forgot his Midwestern roots.
Conway: He by no means did. He at all times mentioned that if present enterprise didn’t work out for him, he would return to working at a ironmongery shop. And it wasn’t his dream to be within the TV enterprise. He was simply glad doing radio… He stayed out in LA and made a profession out of it. Even when he grew to become well-established, my grandmother would inform him, “You possibly can have owned a ironmongery shop by now.” He would inform her, “Mother, I’ve a job and it’s in LA. However it’s a great backup, so thanks, mother.”

Carol Burnett poses with Tim Conway, who received the Lifetime Achievement award at the Regent University's School of Communication and the Arts 2nd Annual Candlelight Forum, awards evening held at the DGA Theatre on April 1, 2008, in Hollywood, California.  

Carol Burnett poses with Tim Conway, who acquired the Lifetime Achievement award on the Regent College’s Faculty of Communication and the Arts 2nd Annual Candlelight Discussion board, awards night held on the DGA Theatre on April 1, 2008, in Hollywood, California.  
(Photograph by Frazer Harrison/Getty Photographs)

Fox Information: What was his relationship like with Carol Burnett?
Conway: They’d an excellent relationship. They have been greatest buddies out and in of labor. She was at our home lots. Her youngsters have been mates with all of us. We have been only a large pack of enjoyable. They have been actually shut. She liked my dad and my dad liked her. Not solely did they’ve a real friendship, however she let him do what he did greatest. He didn’t want to stay to a script. She allowed him to shine and go loopy. I feel that’s why they created a lot magic on set collectively.


Fox Information: Your mother and father divorced once you have been 17. How robust was that for you?
Conway: It was very exhausting. You don’t consider your mother and father as human beings. They’re superheroes who’re there to care for you and are presupposed to at all times be round it doesn’t matter what. So when my dad moved out, I used to be devastated.

Kelly Conway's parents divorced when she was 17. Still, her father was always nearby.

Kelly Conway’s mother and father divorced when she was 17. Nonetheless, her father was at all times close by.
(Courtesy of Kelly Conway)

I selfishly thought, “I now should go to at least one home after which one other.” And I used to be so near my dad, so it harm once they separated. However you understand, he remained shut. He ended up shopping for a home solely a mile from the home we grew up in. So we used to trip our bikes forwards and backwards. It was unhappy, however he at all times made time for us. 

Kelly Conway said her father wanted to create "clean fun" for families across America to enjoy.

Kelly Conway mentioned her father wished to create “clear enjoyable” for households throughout America to get pleasure from.
(Courtesy of Kelly Conway)

Fox Information: It gave the impression of your father stored busy pursuing his ardour for showbiz till he couldn’t anymore.
Conway: He did. Lots of people his age remembered “The Carol Burnett Present.” However then there’s a totally completely different technology that remembers him from Disney and “SpongeBob.” Even little youngsters know who he’s. And I feel that’s what stored him present, related and appreciated. And my dad was all about clear enjoyable that he may watch together with his granddaughter or his household. There was no dangerous language or sexual innuendos. His purpose was to maintain every part clear so that everybody in the identical room can get pleasure from it.

Fox Information: In 2018 there have been experiences that your father was identified with dementia.
Conway: He had one thing known as regular strain hydrocephalus. It’s a mind dysfunction during which extra fluid accumulates within the mind’s ventricles. They handled it by placing a shunt in to empty that extra fluid. That labored for a little bit bit, but it surely simply took its toll. He wasn’t identified with dementia, though I do know it may be misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s. It’s a complicated sickness and there’s a whole lot of opinions and coverings for it. I feel docs are nonetheless attempting to determine it out, actually. It’s a tricky one.


Kelly Conway said her father, Tim Conway, was diagnosed with normal pressure hydrocephalus. 

Kelly Conway mentioned her father, Tim Conway, was identified with regular strain hydrocephalus. 
(Courtesy of Kelly Conway)

Fox Information: Did you or your father ever discover any signs early on?
Conway: Probably not. It’s form of sneaky as a result of this fluid is shifting round and creating strain in your head. So he would really feel foggy or a bit dizzy. That was the very first thing that we seen. And ultimately, he went to the physician to determine what was fallacious.

Fox Information: There have been authorized points involving his spouse. Do you have got any recommendation for youngsters of ailing mother and father?
Conway: Sadly, it’s an issue for grownup youngsters who’ve mother and father which are sick or fading. Generally the stepparents may cause issues. In my scenario, it was my stepmom. She didn’t need me to see my dad and I nonetheless don’t know why. So my recommendation could be to maintain going, maintain pushing, maintain submitting authorized papers. Know your rights. 

I needed to sue her for conservatorship. We received the primary half, which was a restraining order to maintain my dad in a single place as a result of he was moved round fairly a bit. I didn’t suppose it was wholesome for him. However as a result of she was his energy of lawyer, she was his guardian after all, which she needs to be as a result of she’s his spouse. However some dangerous selections have been being made for him. I simply wished him to be at house the place he was comfy and glad in a well-known surroundings. I wished him to endure much less. That’s all I wished. These weren’t the choices she was making together with her daughter. That’s why I needed to get attorneys concerned, which I by no means wished to do. 

Actor Tim Conway, wife Charlene Fusco (right) and daughter Kelly Conway being photographed on Aug. 9, 1983, at Chasen's Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California. 

Actor Tim Conway, spouse Charlene Fusco (proper) and daughter Kelly Conway being photographed on Aug. 9, 1983, at Chasen’s Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California. 
(Photograph by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Assortment through Getty Photographs)

I by no means wished any form of controversy in public as a result of my dad was so personal. And I honored that so long as I may. After which I needed to take authorized motion as a result of I wished to see him and I used to be being stored out of locations. She instructed docs or nurses and caregivers to not converse to me. It was a large number. And for folks going by means of that, simply maintain going. Maintain visiting your mother and father. It’s unhappy when folks begin getting older and fading. You simply need one of the best for them. You need them to have an advocate and ensure that every part goes to be OK.


Fox Information: Many households undergo comparable points with family members who’re aged or sick.
Conway: I feel we’re listening to extra about it due to social media, which didn’t exist again then. However we’ve legislation workplaces and divisions the place they assist grownup youngsters see their mother and father and assist them be concerned of their care. And when everybody has completely different concepts on what that care seems like, issues can go cuckoo. I suppose she felt I used to be infringing on her management. I don’t know.

Kelly Conway said her father just wanted to make people happy.

Kelly Conway mentioned her father simply wished to make folks glad.
(Courtesy of Kelly Conway)

Fox Information: After your father’s passing, there was an outpouring of affection for him.
Conway: I had by no means seen something prefer it. I had folks from everywhere in the world contact me simply to say how a lot my dad made them glad. I heard tales from individuals who got here from sad houses however have been in a position to chuckle due to my dad. It took among the disappointment away, figuring out so many individuals liked him.

My dad was only a very sort man. Fame didn’t faze him. He would nonetheless have conversations with the plumber and electrician. He handled them with the identical respect that he gave to a director in Hollywood. No person ever had a foul phrase to say about my dad. He simply wished to make folks chuckle. And that’s what he liked.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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