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Well known comedian who was longtime Conejo Valley resident dies

Gallagher was known for his watermelon-smashing antics during his standup comedy shows.

Gallagher was popular in the 1980's and 90's, doing thousands of standup comedy shows. He was a popular guest on late-night talk shows.

A popular comedian who was a Conejo Valley resident for decades has died.

His full name was Leo Gallagher, but he simply went by Gallagher. He performed thousands of shows over four decades.

As part of his act, he would use a sledge hammer which he called the “Sledge-O-Matic” showering the audience with watermelon bits. Die-hard fans would get front row seats, and bring plastic sheets or ponchos. His shows were filled with inventive props. He was a pioneer of stand-up comedy specials on television, doing the first one to ever air on Showtime in 1980.

The comedian lived for years in Agoura Hills, and did some benefits for community groups.

Towards the end of his career, he faced criticism from some who contended his comedy included racist, and homophobic elements.

Gallagher suffered a series of heart attacks, which led to him scaling back his performances. He eventually moved to Palm Desert, where he died from organ failure. Gallagher was 76 years old.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.