Foster Brooks (born Louisville, Kentucky, 11 May 1912; died Encino, California, 20 December 2001) was an American actor and comedian who was most famous for his ongoing portrayal of a drunken man in Las Vegas nightclub performances and television programs.
Brooks' career started in radio, most notable with station WHAS (AM) in his hometown of Louisville. Brooks was a staff announcer, but his deep baritone voice was well-suited for singing as well. Brooks gained some measure of fame for his reporting of the great Ohio River flood in 1937, where he was featured on emergency broadcasts by WHAS and also WSM (AM) out of Nashville, Tennessee. In 1952, Brooks even appeared on local television in a short-lived spoof of Gene Autry and his "Singing Cowboys."
Singer Perry Como discovered Brooks in 1969, giving the comedian his major break. Brooks regularly appeared on The Dean Martin Show (Celebrity Roast) television program in the 1970s, as well as many situation comedies, talk shows and a few films.
As his "Lovable Lush" character, Brooks usually portrayed a conventioneer who had a few too many drinksâ€”not completely falling-down drunk, but inebriated enough that he would mix up his words to comedic delight. Brooks drew upon his own battles with alcohol for his act, but the irony was that during his period of greatest fame, Brooks eschewed alcohol almost entirely. He gave up drinking to win a bet in 1964. "Fellow made me a $10 bet I couldn't quit, and I haven't had a drink since. At the time I needed the $10," Brooks said.
For many years, Mr. Brooks' name was a moniker on a Louisville celebrity golf tournament for charity. Brooks' brother, Tom, was a well-known entertainer in Louisville for many years. Tom Brooks played "Cactus," a hayseed character and sidekick to Randy Atcher on "T-Bar-V Ranch" and "Hayloft Hoedown," two popular local shows on WHAS-TV for many years in the 1950s and 1960s.