Singled out by new executive producer Jean Doumanian as the star of her new ensemble, Rocket was promoted as "kind of a cross between Bill Murray and Chevy Chase." Rocket was given the role of anchor for the show's Weekend Update news parody, and was featured in many sketches.
However, the new cast (save for Joe Piscopo and later Eddie Murphy) was not at all popular with audiences. Rocket was somewhat of a standout, though, with a majority of his sketches and Update bits garnering large laughs.
Unfortunately, Rocket would eventually doom both his and Doumanian's tenures on the show with one word. The February 21, 1981 episode hosted by Dallas star Charlene Tilton featured an ongoing joke in which different cast members would vow revenge on him for some reason, in a parody of the famed Who Shot J.R.? episode of Dallas. Rocket was then shot in the chest by a sniper in the final sketch. At the end of the show, there was some time to kill, so members of the cast appeared onstage with Tilton, who improvised and asked Rocket how he felt about being shot. A wheelchair-bound Charles audibly mumbled that he'd like to know who the f___ did it, followed by the cast and audience reacting with shock and embarrassed laughter. The incident seemed to encapsulate all that was wrong with Saturday Night Live at the time, and both Rocket and Doumanian were soon fired (along with some of the writers and fellow cast member Gilbert Gottfried). New producer Dick Ebersol replaced most other cast members later.
Rocket recovered from this early career setback and acted in many films, including Earth Girls Are Easy, It's Pat, Dances with Wolves, and Dumb and Dumber, and as a recurring guest star on episodic TV. Rocket played a rival network president Ned Grossberg on the 1980s cyberpunk series Max Headroom.
Rocket's body was discovered in a field near his home in Canterbury, Connecticut, on October 7, 2005; his throat had been cut. The Connecticut state medical examiner later ruled that he had committed suicide. He was 56, and is survived by his wife Beth and son Zane.
Charles Rocket Facts
|Birth Name||Charles Claverie|
|Birthday||August 24, 1949|
|Birthplace||Bangor, Maine, USA|
|Date of death||October 7, 2005 (age 56)|
|Height||6' 2" (1m88) How tall is Charles Rocket compared to you?|
|Dumb and Dumber|
|Dances With Wolves|
|Tom And Huck|
|Touched by an Angel|
|Touched by an Angel: Season 4, Vol. 1|
|Earth Girls Are Easy|