Longtime ‘King of the Hill’ Voice Actor Dies At 64

Johnny Hardwick is best known for lending his voice to the character Dale Gribble on the show “King of the Hill.” Hardwick’s voice and Gribble’s character were part of all but one of the show’s 259 episodes which aired from 1997 through 2010. Besides voiceover work for the hit animated series, Hardwick also worked as a writer, producer, and story editor on the show.

Now comes the sad news that Hardwick has died. TMZ broke the news sharing that law enforcement was called to do a welfare check at Hardwick’s home in Texas on Tuesday. When they arrived, Hardwick was pronounced dead at the scene. No cause of death has been released, but no foul play is suspected. Hardwick was 64 years old.

Hardwick started his career as a stand-up comedian, and he was the first stand-up comedian ever to go on “The Jon Stewart Show.” After one comedy gig in Los Angeles, producers Mike Judge and Greg Daniels approached him about working on a show they were developing called “King of the Hill.” He started as a writer but ended up voicing Gribble when negotiations with Daniel Stern, the original voiceover actor selected to play Gribble, didn’t work out.

Upon hearing the news of Hardwick’s death, Judge told TMZ, “I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend Johnny Hardwick. He was a great writer, actor and comedian, and he will be deeply missed.”

Even after the show went off the air, Hardwick continued to keep the character that made him famous alive. On YouTube, Hardwick would post videos where he would sing covers of songs like “Imagine” in Gribble’s voice. He would even wear an orange hat to look more like his character.

In 1999, Hardwick won an Emmy when “King of the Hill” won the Outstanding Animated Program award. 

Hulu has previously announced a reboot of “King of the Hill,” and Hardwick was signed on to be the voice of Gribble. It is not yet known if he recorded any voiceover for the reboot before the time of his death or if the character will be recast.