Invision/AP

DETROIT (AP) -- Soupy Sales, the rubber-faced comedian whose anything-for-a-chuckle career was built on 20,000 pies to the face and 5,000 live TV appearances across a half-century of laughs, has died. He was 83.

Former manager and longtime friend Dave Usher of Detroit says Sales died Thursday night at a hospice in New York. Usher says Sales had many health problems and entered the hospice last week.

Sales began his TV career in Detroit, where he drew a large audience on WXYZ-TV. He move to Los Angeles in 1961.

The comic's pie-throwing schtick became his trademark, and celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis and Shirley MacLaine queued up to take one on the chin.

Sales was born Milton Supman in North Carolina in 1926. He grew up in Huntington, W.Va.