Dennis Wolfberg, 48, whose facial contortions and slice-of-life standup style brought him wide recognition on the national comedy ciruit, died of cancer Monday at his home in Culver City.
Wolfberg became a fixture on "The Tonight Show" and starred in an HBO special in early 1992. He also had a recurring role as a strange scientist on NBC's "Quantum Leap," and in April 1993 "Entertainment Tonight" aired "A Day in the Life of Dennis Wolfberg," focusing on his relentless touring schedule.
He appeared at clubs in Washington, Denver, Chicago, Boston, Florida and New York, and a representative said he was twice named America's top male comic in votes by clubgoers and owners nationwide. In 1990 he won an American Comedy Award as best male standup.
Born in Long Island, N.Y., Wolfberg taught sixth-grade students for 12 years in the South Bronx before leaving for a full-time comedy career in 1979. Though he battled cancer for at least two years, he continued to work through the end of August. At the time of his death, he was negotiating a deal for his own TV show.
Wolfberg is survived by his wife, Jeannie, who's also a comic, and three sons.
In lieu of flowers, family suggests donations to Dennis Wolfberg's Melanoma Gene Therapy Fund, c/o UCLA Johnson Cancer Center Foundation, 9-667 Louis Factor Building, 10833 Le Conte, Los Angeles CA 90024-1781; or the Wolfberg Children's Educational Trust, 15456 Ventura Blvd., Suite 300, Sherman Oaks CA 91403.
A service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Hillside Memorial Cememtary.