Question: There was a Fox show in which this comedian played an angel. He had long hair and wore baggy clothes. He died in his car in California while traveling with his recent bride. He was making his comeback after recovery from substance abuse. I can't remember his name. I know that he used to scream a lot in his routine. — Earl F. Parrish

Televisionary: The show you're thinking of is Fox's Charlie Hoover and the screaming funnyman is the late Sam Kinison, who was killed by a drunk driver on the way to a gig in Laughlin, NV. (His wife of six weeks survived the accident.)

It's ironic you remember him playing an angel, since the comedian himself often behaved like anything but. Actually, Kinison played the foot-tall, rascally, inner pleasure seeker of titular accountant Charlie (Tim Matheson), an oft-dumped-upon bean counter whose life Kinison sought to liven up.

Charlie Hoover ran from November, 1991 to February, 1992 and was one of the lowest-rated series of the season. It was yet another example of how television can grab a star, suck his funniest qualities out of him and then leave him on the screen to fail. Kinison had his ups and downs during his career, most of them caused by his own inability to turn down a good time, but there was no denying he could be very, very funny when he was on top of his game.

Kinison lived the source material for most of his best stuff and that's what made him fascinating. He was a screaming, self-destructive homunculus of a guy whose appearances on Howard Stern's show, for example, remain some of the best guest spots of all time. At the time, few people would've been surprised to see him die young since so many who live life at that speed often do. Sadder still was the fact that at the time of the accident, he reportedly was mounting a real effort to clean up and get his act together.

Many remember only Kinison's rock-star wannabe side or his more homophobic and anti-immigrant routines. There's no question those were some of his lower moments. However, his humor was also barrier smashing, full of hilarious riffs on religion, sin, death and suffering that grew out of his pentacostal preacher origins and various personal difficulties (many self-inflicted) he endured along the way.

Think what you will of the man. He definitely had his faults, but he was an original.