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Comedian Charles Rocket Commits Suicide

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Oct 18, 2005 | 6:57am EDT

Actor Charles Rocket, infamous for his unscripted profanity on a 1981 Saturday Night Live episode, committed suicide, police said Monday.

Connecticut State Police Sgt. J. Paul Vance told The Associated Press yesterday Rocket, whose real name is Charles Claverie, was found dead behind his Canterbury, Connecticut home October 7 with his throat slashed. He was 56.

"There was no criminal aspect to this case. The post-mortem showed he had committed suicide by cutting his throat with a knife," Vance said. 

Rocket sparked backlash from viewers on NBC’s sketch-comedy show in 1981 when he uttered an obscenity during a parody of Dallas and its famous “Who Shot J.R.?” skit. Viewers complained, prompting NBC to issue an apology for the remark. The network subsequently fired Rocket, as well as fellow cast members Gilbert Gottfried and Ann Risley, and four SNL writers.

Rocket  would go on to make appearances in movies such as Earth Girls are Easy, How I Got Into College, Dumb & Dumber and Dances with Wolves. He also appeared in the 1980s TV show Max Headroom and provided voices for cartoon characters.

Rocket is survived by his wife, Beth, and son, Zane.

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