What nationality is Mr. Tudball?
September 11, 2018 6:26 PM   Subscribe

If you watched the Carol Burnett Show in its heyday and recall the sketches involving Mr. Tudball and Mrs. Wiggins, what nationality did you understand Mr. Tudball to be?

I was recently surprised to learn that Tim Conway based his accent on that of his Romanian mother, and even more surprised that Wikipedia regards Mr. Tudball as canonically Romanian in consequence.
posted by Horace Rumpole to Media & Arts (12 answers total)

I guess I never really narrowed it down to a specific country, just "European." (Thinking more about it: Swedish, maybe, since I would have been watching Carol Burnett and The Muppet Show in the same general timeframe and he kind of sounds like the Swedish Chef?)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:38 PM on September 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Swedish Chef for sure, but I also hear a bit of the Festrunk Brothers, which gets us closer to Romania. FWIW I dated a Romanian woman for a time and she sounded more like an Italian speaking English with a Russian accent.
posted by rhizome at 6:54 PM on September 11, 2018

I always presumed either Swedish or Norwegian, and I always thought that I was hearing "Tudball" because they were purposely mispronouncing "Tudvall" for comic effect.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:02 PM on September 11, 2018

Conway did a basically identical voice for his golf-instructor character Dorf, who was described as "Scandinavian".

Related: Tim Conway is in very poor health, officially suffering from Dementia and unable to speak, and as it happens too often, members of his family are fighting over his care.

If you need any happier Tim Conway news, he was the resident celebrity in my San Fernando Valley neighborhood, having bought a house two blocks from where I grew up and never moving to a pricier area (as of umpteen years ago). His was the back house on a long lot, so he got some semi-celebrity privacy although I was one of the local kids who rode our bikes up his long driveway and he never came out to complain. Also, his birth name was Tom Conway but there was already an actor with that name when he came to Hollywood (from Cleveland, same hometown as me, moving out about the same time but 22 years older).
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:12 PM on September 11, 2018 [13 favorites]

From this LA Times interview...
Your mother was Romanian. And in fact, you used her accent for your character of Mr. Tudball on "The Carol Burnett Show."

She made slipcovers. I guess in Romania the first thing you learn to do is sew. You make your own clothes and cover your couch. I used to follow her around. I can actually make slipcovers.

posted by mdrew at 8:12 PM on September 11, 2018 [5 favorites]

Hmm. I never took it to be any specific accent other than foreign or not native US english speaker.
posted by AugustWest at 8:43 PM on September 11, 2018

posted by ITravelMontana at 8:46 PM on September 11, 2018

posted by tristeza at 9:37 PM on September 11, 2018

Tim spoke the language "funny" all the time. I did not appreciate him nearly as much as Harvey Korman who broke up repeatedly during Tim's acts, and also Carol's. I am sorry to read that he is ill; someone who amused so many people deserves better.
Did you ever hear the story of Tim being in an outdoor-themed indoor restaurant that had a real tree growing through the roof? Tim is said to have climbed the tree out of the place and gone home - leaving his meal companions wondering.
posted by Cranberry at 12:07 AM on September 12, 2018

I always parsed the character as "nonspecifically foreign" in the same sense as Kaufman's "Foreign Man" character (who grew into Laika on Taxi).
posted by uberchet at 9:06 AM on September 12, 2018

I always assumed the character was Swedish.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:55 AM on September 14, 2018

« Older What kind of doctor do I need? (adhd + pregnancy)   |   Road trip tips Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.