Mitzi Shore, whose legendary Los Angeles club The Comedy Store helped launch the career of dozens of famous funnymen, died Wednesday after a battle with Parkinson’s Disease. She was 87.
“It is with great sadness and very heavy hearts that we report the passing of Mitzi Shore, the legendary Godmother of the world famous Comedy Store,” the club said in a statement. “Mitzi was an extraordinary businesswoman and decades ahead of her time who cultivated and celebrated the artistry of stand-up comedy.”
Shore’s son, “Encino Man” star Pauly Shore, confirmed his mother’s passing on Twitter, saying his “heart lays heavy,” but that she had not been in pain leading up to her death.
Pauly added that he took Shore to her beloved Comedy Store one last time on Monday afternoon, bringing her journey with the club full-circle.
The Comedy Store was co-founded by Shore and her husband Sammy in 1972. She gained control of the place two years later after the couple’s divorce, and officially purchased the building in 1976, granting her the freedom to do a full renovation and expansion.
Shore was responsible for scheduling the comedians, and her sharp eye for raw talent helped launch the careers of countless stars, including Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Chris Rock, Arsenio Hall and Jim Carrey.
Just last year, Carrey executive produced the Showtime series “I’m Dying Up Here,” loosely based on the club in the ’70s, with Melissa Leo playing a character said to be based on Shore.
While Shore was a beloved figure on the comedy scene, her tenure as Comedy Store owner wasn’t without controversy; an infamous strike broke out in 1979 over a pay dispute, and wasn’t settled until six weeks later when she agreed to pay comics $25 a set on weekends and weekdays, according to TIME.
Shore, who is survived by four children, was remembered on Twitter by a series of comics, including Marc Maron and Whitney Cummings.
“Mitzi Shore made an indelible mark on comedy and my brain. ‘You’re a poet. You should wear a scarf on stage.’ RIP,” Maron wrote.
“I love you Mitzi Shore. Rest In Peace. Thank you for giving me a family and a home,” added Cummings.