Tao Da-wei (陶大偉), the veteran entertainer known for his comic performances, died of lung cancer and multiple organ failure at National Taiwan University Hospital yesterday at the age of 69.
Tao, affectionately known as “Uncle Tao,” was hospitalized last month with cardiac problems.
His son, David Tao (陶吉吉), a pop singer, issued a statement last night confirming that his father died at about 3pm.
A versatile entertainer, Tao Da-wei shot to fame in the 1980s when he hosted a popular children’s TV program. However, he began his stage career by moonlighting as a rock singer while studying international commerce at National Chengchi University.
Disliking his coursework, he decided to transfer and study fine art at National Taiwan College of Arts, the precursor of National Taiwan University of Arts. This laid the basis for his later pursuit of a career in animation production.
He graduated in 1964 and moved to the US in 1972 to work as a layout artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios. He liked to say that his stay in the US was not aimed at pursuing the American dream, but rather at chasing his animation dream.
Since his return to Taiwan in 1980, Tao starred in 21 films, released seven albums and produced 24 TV programs, many of which he himself hosted or co-hosted. He won 14 Golden Bell awards.
Tao was also dedicated to children’s education, instilling ethical concepts in many of his programs.
Tao, who would have turned 70 on Sept. 28, is survived by his wife and his son.