LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Peter Tork, a talented singer-songwriter and instrumentalist whose musical skills were often overshadowed by his role as the goofy, lovable bass guitarist in the made-for-television rock band The Monkees, has died at age 77.
Tork's son Ivan Iannoli told The Associated Press his father died Thursday morning at the family home in Connecticut of complications from adinoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer of the salivary glands. He had battled the disease since 2009.
"Peter's energy, intelligence, silliness, and curiosity were traits that for decades brought laughter and enjoyment to millions, including those of us closest to him," his son said in a statement.
Tork, who was often hailed by the other Monkees as the band's best musician, had studied music since childhood. He was accomplished on guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, banjo and other instruments. Michael Nesmith, the Monkees' lead guitarist, said Tork was the better of the two. Tork said he played bass because none of the others wanted to.
He had been playing in small clubs in Los Angeles when a friend and fellow musician, Steven Stills, told him TV casting directors were looking for "four insane boys" to play members of a struggling rock band.
Stills, a member of the legendary rock bands, reportedly told Tork he'd auditioned and was rejected because his teeth were ugly. He thought the handsome Tork might fare better.
When the show debuted in September 1966 Tork and fellow band members Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and David Jones became overnight teen idols.