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Comedian Tom Smothers, one-half of the Smothers Brothers, dies at 86

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Tom Smothers, half of the Smothers Brothers and the co-host of one of the most socially conscious and groundbreaking television shows in the history of the medium, has died at 86. The National Comedy Center, on behalf of his family, said in a statement Wednesday that Smothers died Tuesday following a cancer battle. “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” debuted on CBS in the fall of 1967 with a mix of music and comedy that included satirical sketches lampooning the Establishment and railing against the Vietnam War. The show, though popular with viewers, drew the ire of network censors who constantly battled the brothers over its content. In 1970, CBS abruptly canceled the show.