Fans of King of the Hill are mourning the loss of Johnny Hardwick and some are wondering what could have caused his death. According to TMZ, Johnny was found dead on Aug. 10, 2023, inside his Texas home and foul play isn't suspected. Johnny was 64.
Following his death, some may be curious about Johnny’s cause of death. Here’s everything we know about what happened to the beloved voice actor as tributes pour in.
What was Johnny Hardwick’s cause of death?
According to TMZ, details surrounding Johnny’s cause of death remain a mystery. Police responded to a welfare check at Johnny’s Texas home, and discovered the actor dead. Johnny is presumed to have been alone at the time, as no foul play is suspected. Johnny’s official cause of death will ultimately be revealed following a coroner’s examination.
Prior to his death, Johnny talked about the inspiration behind his beloved animated character and revealed that Dale is partially based on a popular actor. “I ended up kind of basing his attitude on if he thought he was Jack Nicholson but he wasn't,” Johnny told the Austin Chronicle in 1999. He also said, “Or if he just thought he was the coolest guy around.”
Johnny is best know for voicing Dale Gribble on 'King of the Hill.'
The actor rose to prominence as the voice of Dale Gribble, the best friend of lead character Hank Hill. Johnny had been a part of the Emmy winning show since its inception in 1997, appearing in more than 250 episodes of the animated comedy. Johnny also served as a producer and writer on the show, until its series finale in 2010. He won his first Emmy award in 1999 as a producer on King of the Hill, and was nominated for the same award in 2001 and 2002.
Prior to landing a role on the Fox show, Johnny worked as a standup comedian. He graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in journalism, but later decided to try his hand at entertainment, Campus Live reports. After performing in comedy clubs in Dallas and Austin, Johnny moved to Los Angeles where he received his big break.
What will the ‘King of the Hill’ revival be about?
News of Johnny’s death comes months after Hulu ordered a revival of King of the Hill, with Johnny set to reprise his role as Dale. Per Deadline, plans to revive the series began in 2017 as Mike Judge and Kathy Najimy have also signed on to voice Hank and Peggy, respectively.
Plans to reboot King of the Hill were announced in January, so the series may not arrive on Hulu until 2024. NBC News reported that Johnny’s voice would appear in the revival of the animated comedy, but he wasn't able to complete his work on the show. It is unclear how King of the Hill will honor Johnny when the series begins streaming, but he will likely receive a tribute.
Hulu hasn't revealed additional details about the forthcoming reboot but the original co-creator, Greg Daniels, suggested that the streaming version of King of the Hill will take place years after the original ended. “The idea is a time jump, yeah, so the characters are a bit older," Greg told Collider.