Tommy Chong

One-half of the popular counterculture comedy duo Cheech and Chong, Tommy Chong was a stand-up comic, actor and director whose stage and screen persona - a deeply narcotized but philosophical stoner, usually named "Man" - was the yin to Richard Marin's talkative, omnivorous "Cheech" in a series of Grammy-winning comedy albums and films. A native of Canada, Chong emerged from that country's rock music scene, but found success on the comedy circuit with the Los Angeles-born Marin; their comedy team played up the absurdity of mainstream America's reaction to the drug culture of the 1970s, as well as the loopy logic that was part of the marijuana lifestyle. The success of their comedy albums led to a film career beginning with 1978's "Up in Smoke," but by the mid-80s, their act had run out of gas, leading to the duo's breakup in 1985. While Cheech Marin enjoyed success in film and on television, Chong floundered in the decades that followed, with a 2003 conviction for selling drug paraphernalia a particular low point. However, his 2008 reunion with Marin as the beloved Cheech and Chong proved that their decades-old material still held a fresh buzz for veteran fans and newcomers alike.