LOS ANGELES - Tom Poston, the tall, pasty-faced comic who found fame and fortune playing a clueless everyman on such hit TV shows as "Newhart" and "Mork and Mindy," has died. He was 85.

Poston, who was married to Suzanne Pleshette of "The Bob New-hart Show," died Monday night at home after a brief illness, a family representative, Tanner Gibson, said yesterday. The nature of his illness was not disclosed.

Bob Newhart remembered Poston as a "versatile and veteran performer and a kindhearted individual."

"Tom was always the 'go-to guy' on 'Newhart' in addition to being a good and longtime friend," Newhart said in a statement.

Poston's run as a comic bumbler began in the mid-1950s with "The Steve Allen Show" after Allen plucked the character actor from the Broadway stage to join an ensemble of eccentrics he would conduct "man in the street" interviews with.

Don Knotts was the shaky Mr. Morrison, Louis Nye was the suave, overconfident Gordon Hathaway and Poston's character was so unnerved by the television cameras that he couldn't remember who he was. He won an Emmy playing "The Man Who Can't Remember His Name." *

- Associated Press