Comedian Garry Shandling dead at 66

Los Angeles, March 25 (IANS) Comedian, actor, writer and producer Garry Shandling, known for “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show”, has passed away. He was 66.

Shandling died Thursday, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) confirmed, reports variety.com.

A spokesman for the LAPD said they received a call from Shandling’s home on Thursday, saying the comedian suffered from a “medical emergency”. He later died at an hospital here.

Shandling wasn’t known to be suffering from any illnesses, and just a few days ago retweeted Kathy Griffin’s photograph of himself, her and Bob Odenkirk.

The influential comedian was known for his neurotic observational humour, particularly about romantic relationships, and his no-holds-barred skewering of showbiz in his inventive TV shows.

“The Larry Sanders Show” was one of the early pillars of HBO’s original series strategy, garnering Emmy Awards and critical acclaim during its 1992-1998 run.

Born in Chicago, Shandling was raised in Tucson, Arizona, and started out majoring in electrical engineering before completing a marketing degree at the University of Arizona.

After moving to Los Angeles, he sold a script for “Sanford and Son” and also wrote for “Welcome Back, Kotter.” He guest-hosted on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and was in consideration to become Carson’s replacement. After a serious car accident, he began working on his stand-up comedy act.

In 1986, he created his own sitcom “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show”, also an early original series effort for Showtime.

The show, also co-created by Alan Zweibel, was nominated for four Emmys, and ran until 1990. The show was noted for being one that often broke the fourth wall, with Shandling speaking directly to the audience, and he played a version of himself: a stand-up comedian aware of the fact that he is a sitcom character.

Among his film and voice acting appearances were “Iron Man 2,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Dr Dolittle”, “Zoolander” and “Over the Hedge”, The notorious flop “Town and Country”, in which he co-starred with Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton, was a big disappointment for Shandling in 2001.

He was also a formidable host, hosting the Grammys in 1990, 1993 and 1994, and the Emmys in 2000 and 2004.

Shandling was never married and did not have children.

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