TEXAS, USA — Johnny Hardwick, the voice actor and comedian known for portraying Dale Gribble on "King of the Hill" has died at 64, TMZ confirmed.
Hardwick, a Texas native, voiced the character since the show's inception in 1997. The show is scheduled to come back for a new season on Hulu, but it is unclear if Hardwick had recorded his lines for the new season at this point.
TMZ reported that law enforcement were called Tuesday to Hardwick's home in Austin, Texas for a welfare check, where they found his body. Hardwick was pronounced dead at the scene. While no cause of death is known yet, no foul play is suspected.
Hardwick's Gribble character was a mainstay on "King of the Hill," which was set in the fictional Texas town of Arlen. Show creator Mike Judge confirmed in 2009 that the setting was inspired by the Dallas suburb Richardson, where he once lived.
Aside from voicing Gribble and other minor characters, Hardwick had also served as a producer, story editor and staff writer on the show. Hardwick won an Emmy in 1999 for Best Animated Program as a producer of the show. He appeared in 258 episodes of the 259-episode series.
Hardwick was born in 1958 in Austin, Texas, and would later attend Texas Tech University before working for a decade as a bartender in bars in Austin and Dallas, including the Greenville Bar and Grill. He also began performing stand-up comedy in 1990, performing in clubs around Austin and Dallas, including Dallas Improv, and was the first comedian to appear on "The Jon Stewart Show."
Since 2015, Hardwick has also been active on YouTube, performing parody songs in Gribble's trademark orange hat and mirrored sunglasses. As of August 2023, his YouTube account had 17,500 subscribers and 608,000 total views.