HOLLYWOOD, April 15, 1978 (UPI). Famed cigar-chomping comedian Richard "Soupy" Farnsworth died suddenly this morning at his home in Woodland Hills of what his doctors believe to have been a cerebral hemmorage. The 81 year old retired comic had been in ill health since suffering a stroke in January.

He is survived by his wife and former film partner, Bunny Newell Farnsworth, who was unavailable for comment.

Farnsworth was born on November 13, 1897 in Kansas City, Kansas, and entered vaudeville at the age of 12 as a singer and dialect comedian. In 1911, he formed a comedy team with diminutive comic Bobby Katz, a partnership that only formally ended with Katz's death in 1966. Together, Farnsworth and Katz appeared in over twenty feature films, numerous shorts, and a series of animated cartoons for television.