CNN is reporting the death of Jay Leggett, an actor, improv comic, and teacher who was briefly part of the cast of Fox’s In Living Color. Leggett died doing what he loved—and what he loved was hunting deer: The director of the 2011 documentary To The Hunt: Deer Season In Tomahawk, WI reportedly collapsed next to his ATV at the end of a successful hunt, near a family cabin in his native Tomahawk. According to authorities, the deer that Leggett had killed was strapped to his vehicle when they found him. Leggett died of natural causes at the age of 50.
Leggett was schooled in Chicago under improv legend Del Close, before he moved to L.A. to join In Living Color in its fifth and final season. By then, the show had undergone significant changes, losing all of the Wayans family, seeing Jim Carrey’s role significantly reduced, and relying heavily on guest appearances from stars like Chris Rock. During that rocky year, Leggett was one of the few freshmen cast members who managed to introduce a new recurring character to the show—that of Seamus O’Shanty O’Shame, an Irish folk singer whose ballads always ended horribly.
After In Living Color, Leggett remained in Hollywood and found work in various small roles on television shows like ER, The Drew Carey Show, Star Trek: Voyager, NYPD Blue, and Ally McBeal. Meanwhile, he also began writing his own screenplays: 2004 saw the release of both the Seth Green comedy Without A Paddle, which Leggett had a co-writing credit on, and Employee Of The Month, which he co-wrote and co-starred in. Not to be confused with the Dane Cook movie from two years later, the Sundance-selected Employee of The Month starred Matt Dillon, Christina Applegate, and Jenna Fischer in one of her earliest roles.
In more recent years, Leggett produced and starred in the short-lived blue-collar sitcom Factory for Spike, while also serving as lead instructor at Comedy Now L.A. Responding to news of his death today, one of his students, Workaholics’ Adam Devine, hailed Leggett as his “guru.”