Tim Conway’s daughter details battle with stepmom over his care

Tim Conway’s daughter Kelly says her stepmom, Charlene, didn’t bother to call her to share the news that her father died in 2019.

However, the snub wasn’t a surprise, as Kelly had been battling Char in court over Conway’s conservatorship and access to doctors and caregivers. A judge ultimately ruled against Kelly, and mediation was implemented to allow her visitation.

The ordeal is recounted in heartbreaking detail in Kelly’s upcoming memoir, “My Dad’s Funnier Than Your Dad: Growing up with Tim Conway in the Funniest House in America,” which covers everything from her happy childhood to the hostile dispute with Char over Conway’s increasingly frail health in his final years.

“The battle with my stepmom was tragic because it could have been a lot different,” Kelly exclusively told Page Six about the legal tussles with her stepmom of over 30 years. “It could have been a lot more calm.”

A black-and-white photo of Tim Conway and daughter Kelly when she was a child.
Kelly Conway had a close relationship with her dad, Tim.
Courtesy of Kelly Conway

Kelly said that before her father became ill, she had a warm relationship with Char, who married Conway in 1984 after his 1978 divorce from Kelly’s mother, Mary Anne Dalton.

“I loved her because she loved my dad so much,” Kelly explained. “And he loved her. And they were so happy. I was so content in the fact that they were happy all the time.”

Kelly, who has five younger siblings, said her relationship with Char began to deteriorate over something as simple as the food she would bring over when her dad first got sick.

Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman, Carol Burnett.
Conway won four Emmys for his work on “The Carol Burnett Show.”
Getty Images

“I used to go visit them and bring my dad a sandwich, and she would throw it in the trash because she wanted to make him her food,” Kelly alleged. “It sounds very petty, but I feel like that’s where it started. And it escalated from there.

“She decided that after 30 years of a great relationship I had with her, she decided to go opposite and keep me from him and not let me be involved with his health care or talk to doctors or nurses or caregivers,” she continued. “And I still don’t have the answer to why she did. I have no idea, although it doesn’t matter anymore. I mean, I would take the answer if someone gave it to me, but it doesn’t matter anymore. Because like I said, it could have been so different. And I don’t know. I still don’t know why.”

In 2018, Conway was diagnosed with dementia due to normal pressure hydrocephalus. He died in 2019 at the age of 85.

Tim Conway with wife Char on the red carpet at the 2005 TV Land Awards.
Conway married his second wife, Char, in 1984 (seen here together in 2005).
Getty Images

Kelly told us she hasn’t spoken to her stepmother since the funeral and wasn’t even sure if she and her siblings would be invited. The Conway kids ended up throwing a reception afterward “at a pizza place that my dad loved, not far from where we grew up,” according to Kelly, who added, “So, it was actually better.”

Kelly, who works as a stylist in Los Angeles, said she wrote the book because “the first question everybody asks me is, ‘What was it like to grow up in that house with your dad?’”

“And I explained that in the book,” she said. “We had a great childhood because it was just all fun and games and the best childhood ever.”

Tim Conway as Dorf.
Conway won new fans with his character Dorf.
WireImage

She knows that people will accuse her of trying to take control of her father’s money but swears that was never the case.

“I had it in the papers that were filed with the LA court system. It says this has nothing to do with money,” Kelly noted. “In fact, if I did get conservatorship of my dad, [it would have been] just to help him. My goal was to let them help him suffer less. And that’s all I wanted.

“If I were to take conservatorship, I asked that … no money came in through my hands and it all be taken care of as far as doctors and facilities and whatever he needed through his trust or through his accountants and lawyers, that I wanted nothing to do with any kind of money.”

Joe Flynn, Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway in "McHale's Navy."
Conway first gained fame for his role in “McHale’s Navy.”
Getty Images

Kelly said her goal was to have her father at home in familiar surroundings and “not have a new doctor every 20 minutes and new caregivers and unfamiliar rooms.”

“I just wanted to take the suffering and keep that to a minimum,” she said. “And I thought by being at home that would have at least taken some of the complications and heartbreak out of it. But it just never happened, and I don’t know why. I really don’t.”

Char did not respond to Page Six’s request for comment.

Leave a Comment

Advertise