Johnny Hardwick, Voice of Dale Gribble on ‘King of the Hill,’ Dies at 64

The comedian, writer and YouTuber gave life to the chain-smoking gun fanatic who believed every conspiracy theory

Johnny Hardwick (Photo credit: @johnnyhardwick9962, 20th Century Fox)
YouTube (@johnnyhardwick9962)/20th Century Studios

Johnny Hardwick, who voiced Dale Gribble, the chain-smoking, ball cap-and-sunglasses wearing conspiracy theorist neighbor on “King of the Hill,” has died. He was 64.

The voice actor, comedian and YouTuber’s body was discovered by authorities after they were called to his home to perform a welfare check on Tuesday, according to the coroner’s office in Austin, Texas. Authorities pronounced Hardwick dead at the scene, no foul play is suspected and no cause of death was given.

While Hardwick is remembered most performing as Dale from the hit Mike Judge and Greg Daniels-created series, he began his career as a stand-up comedian in Texas during the ’90s, with his first appearance being on Jon Stewart’s “The Jon Stewart Show.” He also used his voice acting skills on other projects, including a video game called “Warped Kart Racers,” a documentary titled “Natural Selection” and he acted as Dale in a music video called “Barenaked Ladies: Get in Line.”

On “King of the Hill,” which premiered in 1997, Hardwick’s character Dale was a key supporting role, serving as best friend of main character Hank. The series went on for 13 seasons and 259 episodes, taking its final bow in 2010.

A reboot of the series, which originally aired on Fox, was ordered by Hulu back in January, with Saladin Patterson (“The Wonder Years”) signing on as showrunner and executive producer.

After Judge and Daniels reconnected with the cast at the 2017 San Francisco Sketchfest and celebrated “King of the Hill’s” 20th anniversary, plans for the revival went into action. Judge first hinted the show could make a return during last year’s Comic-Con saying, “King of the Hill” “has a very good chance of coming back.”

The original voice cast, including Judge, Kathy Najimy, Stephen Root, Pamela Adlon, Lauren Tom and Hardwick, were all slated to return to their roles.