Alan Colmes, the radio and television host and commentator best known as the amiable liberal foil to the hard-right Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel, has died.
Fox spokeswoman Dana Klinghoffer confirmed his death Thursday. Fox also aired a statement from his family saying that he died Thursday morning after "a brief illness." Colmes was 66 and is survived by his wife, Jocelyn Elise Crowley.
Colmes was a New York City native who worked for years in radio -- including WNBC and WABC -- and standup comedy before joining Fox in 1996. That same year he and the conservative Hannity began a 12-year run as co-hosts of the popular "Hannity & Colmes" program.
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Admittedly a minority voice on the conservative channel, Colmes was often mocked as too nice and easily overshadowed by the ever-aggressive Hannity. The liberal media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Media likened him to the hapless Washington Generals, the dependable losers to basketball's Harlem Globetrotters. Al Franken, in his best-selling "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them," imagined Colmes earning his salary by "adding toner to the copiers and printers, loofah-ing Roger Ailes in his personal steam room, and ordering Chinese food for editors working on misleading video packages."
Colmes was aware of the criticism, but said that getting mean was not his style.
"People say to me, 'Why don't you fight fire with fire?'" he told The Associated Press in 2003. "You fight fire with water, not fire."
Colmes continued to appear as a commentator on Fox after his show with Hannity ended
Colmes also was an author, his books including "Thank the Liberals" and "Red, White & Liberal."
Colmes' passing was mourned on social media by several news colleagues.