But he'll probably be best known for his work on "Carol Burnett," the iconic 1970s sketch comedy show that included the likes of Burnett, Conway, Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner and Vicki Lawrence.
Conway won Emmys for best supporting performer in 1973, 1977 and 1978 for his "Burnett" work.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
He stole many a scene on "Burnett," with cameras often catching Burnett and Korman struggling — and usually failing — to keep straight faces after something Conway had said or done something hilarious.
"I’m heartbroken," Burnett said in a statement Tuesday, shortly after Conway's passing.
"He was one in a million, not only as a brilliant comedian but as a loving human being. I cherish the times we had together both on the screen and off. He’ll be in my heart forever.”
Conway, a native of Ohio, said his Midwestern roots played well on "Burnett" and its more gentle, non-offensive comedy takes.
“I think the Midwest is the heart of comedy in this country, and a little bit of the South, too,” he told the Wisconsin State Journal in 2005. “For some reason, we’re just more laid-back, more understanding. ... And Midwesterners have a kinder sense of humor.”
Even after his time on "Burnett," Conway kept working and remained a relevant comedy force. In the 1980s, he produced a series of popular comedy VHS tapes with the character "Dorf," a diminutive persona who hilariously tried to teach viewers how to fish, play golf and baseball.
He made an impact on later generations as the voice of Barnacle Boy on the popular animated series "SpongeBob SquarePants."
Thomas Daniel Conway was born Dec. 15, 1933, in the Cleveland suburb of Willoughby, Ohio.
He attended Bowling Green State University and served in the U.S. Army, before launching into his comedic acting career.
He was spotted by comedienne and “The Dick Van Dyke Show" co-star Rose Marie, who got him an audition for “The Steve Allen Show.”
Mom took Tim Conway & his first wife Maryann under her wing when they came out to LA, which meant they were at the house a lot when I was a teenager-she was always cooking for them. He was a really nice man who happened to be hysterical. Man could he make my dad laugh! So funny! pic.twitter.com/GUb2T2mtQ7
"So sad to hear about Tim Conway. 'Discovering' Tim and managing him for a time, was a source of tremendous pride for Mother. He was, after all, one of the funniest men on the planet!" according to a tweet from Rose Marie's family.
"He was a really nice man who happened to be hysterical. Man could he make my dad laugh! So funny!"
Conway became a regular on Allen's show in the early 1960s, and it was the host who urged him to change his name to "Tim" Conway, to separate himself from a British actor named Tom Conway.
Conway and his first wife, Mary Anne Dalton, had six children. After they divorced in 1978, Conway married Charlene Fusco in 1984.
Fusco and one of his daughters, Jackie, were at his side when Conway passed away in Southern California, according to the actor's publicist.
David K. Li
David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.