McHale’s Navy star Tim Conway is believed to be battling a severe case of dementia, with claims suggesting he is now almost entirely unresponsive.
According to US gossip site The Blast, the 84-year-old, who was first boosted into the spotlight for his role as Ensign Charles Parker in the World War II comedy in the 1960s, has reportedly been moved out of a nursing home as his daughter Kelly Conway fights to take control of his medical treatment.
In court documents obtained by the showbiz website, his daughter has allegedly asked to be appointed as her father’s conservator in a bid to prevent her mother, Conway’s current wife Charlene, from moving the former actor into a facility with supposedly inadequate care.
Kelly is also said to have described her father as “almost entirely unresponsive”, according to reports.
The TV star’s daughter, who is one of seven children, is allegedly claiming that the new facility fails to provide access to “registered nurses at all times and his 24-hour caregiver and speech therapist (to help with swallowing)”.
As conservator, Kelly would be responsible for the administration of medications and “for the care and treatment of dementia”, The Blast reports.
Conway’s condition is far removed from his once hilarious persona as Ensign Charles Parker, who was known as the goofy second in command to fellow actor Ernest Borgnine’s character Lieutenant Commander Quinton McHale. Starring in the show from 1962 to 1966, the much-loved actor earned himself an Emmy Award nomination for the role and later joined the cast in two spin-off feature films.
With his trademark thick, nasally voice, Conway went on to appear as a regular on popular skit show, The Carol Burnett Show in the 1970s, often playing roles of The Old Man and Mr Tudball, and known for his ability to leave co-star Harvey Korman in fits of laughter.
Unfortunately dementia is all too common these days, and Aussie theatre legend Rhonda Burchmore exclusively spoke to Starts at 60 earlier this year, opening up about her mum’s battle with the condition until her death.
“She knew me right to the end. I’d visit her a couple of times a week, we’d laugh, I have all these wonderful memories,” the actress said. “I’m sad for those people whose loved ones don’t recognise them.”