Ron Sweed, best known in the ’70s for playing late-night horror host The Ghoul, died in Cleveland at the age of 70.
Sweed passed way on Monday, April 1. He suffered a heart attack in November and underwent triple-bypass surgery but never fully recovered.
Sweed’s first wife, Barbara J. King, announced his death on Facebook on April 2.
It’s with a broken heart I am telling all my family and friends and you wonderful Ghoul fans that Ron Sweed lost his courageous 5 month fight and died last night. I cannot thank all of you enough for your outpouring of love and prayers when I first announced Ron’s heart attack 5 months ago.
Many of you told me stories of meeting Ron or how watching his TV show cheered you up; that all meant a lot to me. I met Ron when I was 17 [and] we got married when I was 18. We were married 14 years. Although we divorced we remained best friends.
My heart goes out to Mary Therese, his wife, who was steadfastly at his side throughout all of this. I lost my best friend but s he has lost her partner in life.
Sweed grew up in Cleveland and took the stage name The Ghoul, based on popular Cleveland TV character Ghoulardi, played by Ernie Anderson in the ’60s.
He first met Anderson in 1963 when Ghoulardi invited Sweed onto the stage during a show when he saw the 13-year-old in the audience dressed in a gorilla suit.
Sweed worked on a part-time basis with Anderson while he was still in high school and later became production assistant for Ghoulardi’s show.
When Anderson left Cleveland for Hollywood in 1966, Sweed believed fans wanted to see more of Ghoulardi.
In 1970, he suggested to Anderson that he could return to Cleveland once a month to shoot a couple of shows and return to L.A. However, Anderson had enough of Cleveland and his role as Ghoulardi.
With Anderson’s blessing, Ron Sweed took over the role of Ghoulardi but changed the character’s name to The Ghoul.