Johnny Hardwick, the renowned voice actor, comedian, and producer, who breathed life into Dale Gribble in the celebrated Fox animated series "King of the Hill," has passed away at the age of 64. The producers of the show confirmed this saddening news, though the cause of his death remains undisclosed.
Described as a "beloved member of the ‘King of the Hill’ family," Hardwick's contribution to the animated world over a span of 25 years was unparalleled. A joint statement from 20th Television Animation and Hulu encapsulated the collective grief, stating, "His unique voice lent depth to one of our most iconic characters.
We deeply mourn his loss and extend our heartfelt condolences to his friends and family."
Hardwick's Multi-faceted Role
During his time on "King of the Hill," which aired for an impressive 13 seasons and consisted of over 200 episodes, Hardwick was not just a voice actor.
He also wore hats as a writer, story editor, and even won a coveted Emmy Award in 1999 for his role as a producer on the show. Dale Gribble, voiced by Hardwick, was an indispensable character, known for his penchant for conspiracy theories.
This character was one of the closest pals of the protagonist, Hank Hill, and was featured in 257 out of the 258 episodes throughout the series’ 13-year duration. Born in Austin, Texas, Hardwick initiated his journey in the world of entertainment as a stand-up comedian, showcasing his talent on platforms like “The Jon Stewart Show”.
It was his act at Los Angeles’ Laugh Factory comedy club that drew the attention of the show creators, Mike Judge and Greg Daniels. This serendipitous performance led to his association with “King of the Hill”.
Apart from this, Hardwick marked his presence in reality shows such as "Ace of Cakes" and "Boomer vs Zoomer." Fans of the series could also hear him in the "King of the Hill" video game and the recent 2022's "Warped Kart Racers" through archived voice recordings.
Earlier this year, a revival of "King of the Hill" was greenlit by Hulu, with Hardwick set to return as Dale. Unfortunately, before his untimely demise, Hardwick couldn’t finish his voice work for the revival, leaving fans and colleagues reminiscing about his unparalleled legacy in animation.