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Soupy Sales, a pioneer of slapstick television comedy who once estimated he had taken 20,000 pies in the face, died on Thursday night in a New York hospice, the Detroit Free Press reported. He was 83.
Born Milton Supman in Franklinton, North Carolina, Sales began his TV career in Detroit in 1953 as the host of the goofball "Lunch with Soupy," a half-hour show that featured a cast of imagined characters including a dog named White Fang, who communicated through a string of guttural noises.
Sales also conjured up Hippy the Hippo, Willy the Worm and Black Tooth, a sloppily affectionate dog -- characters that carried over to a late-night comedy-variety show, "Soupy's On," which aired five nights a week in Detroit in the 1950s.