Mr. Anderson, one of three children, was born on October 14, 1952, in Newport, R.I., and spent much of his childhood on the move, often performing on the streets for money, he told People.
Actor Harry Anderson, best known as the star of the sitcom Night Court, died at the age of 65 on Monday morning in Asheville, North Carolina.
"Stunned by the passing of Harry Anderson, one of my comedy and magic inspirations growing up", said actor Neil Patrick Harris.
Celebrities reacted to Anderson's death on social media Monday.
He also starred in the series "Dave's World" and appeared on "Cheers" as con man Harry "The Hat" Gittes.
Anderson appeared numerous times on Johnny Carson's version of "The Tonight Show" and "Saturday Night Live" during the 1980s and soon became a recurring guest star on "Cheers", playing a swindler and grifter called, not surprisingly, Harry the Hat. "I guess they figured I was an actor", he told the Bradenton Herald. They named the character Harry so I'd keep in mind to react when someone said my name.
Barry said on Twitter that Anderson "was a very talented guy, and, more important, a genuinely nice guy". He also starred in the 1990s sitcom "Dave's World", based on the life of Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Dave Barry.
Outside of his career in acting, Anderson was an accomplished magician, the owner of both a magic shop (dubbed Sideshow) and a nightclub (called Oswald's Speakeasy) in New Orleans' French Quarter, and a massive fan of the jazz singer Mel Torne - an affection that helped influence his Night Court character. He sold his home in Pasadena, California, and moved back to New Orleans, where he had lived in the 1970s.
Anderson had a devoted following among fellow performers. He grew up in NY and moved to OR when he was a teenager and said that's where he became a hippie.
Anderson is survived by two children from his first marriage to Leslie Pollack, and by his current wife Elizabeth Morgan. I was just there last night and talked about how wonderful his magic was.