Gifted US comedian Garry Shandling, best known for The Larry Sanders Show, has died aged 66. He died of a heart attackafter being rushed by ambulance to a hospital.
Born in Chicago, moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s landing staff writing jobs on sitcoms such as Sanford and Son and Welcome Back Kotter. After a serious car accident in 1977 he focussed on a career as a stand-up comedian and cultivated a stage persona that played up his real-life neuroses.
He became a regular on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, later becoming Carson’s permanent guest host until 1987.
By 1986, he co-created It’s Garry Shandling’s Show which ran until 1990 followed by The Larry Sanders Show for HBO. The fictional tonight show ran from 1992 until 1998, featuring real celebrities mocking themselves, Jeffrey Tambor as his on-air sidekick Hank “Hey Now” Kingsley, Rip Torn as his producer Artie, and dispensing with a laugh track. The Larry Sanders Show won 3 Emmys and is still regarded as ground-breaking amongst the comedy fraternity.
He also hosted Emmys, Grammys and appeared on The X-Files, Caroline in the City, Saturday Night Live and The Ben Stiller Show. He was once offered $5 million to replace Dave Letterman on his Late Night show.
His Film credits included Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, Iron Man 2, Over the Hedge, The Dictatorand Zoolander.
In 2007, Shandling told Esquire, “I remember when I was a struggling comic appearing for the first time in Las Vegas. Don Rickles came in to watch the new guy. Afterward, he came backstage, and I asked him if he thought I was funny. He said, ‘You know when you’re funny. You don’t have to ask.’ And he was right.”
Ricky Gervais tweeted he was one of this generations best comedians.