This is not funny at all. Garry Shandling, the legendary comedian behind the hit television shows ‘It’s Garry Shandling’s Show’ and the Emmy-award winning ‘The Larry Sanders Show,’ suddenly passed away on March 24. He was only 66.
Comedy has lost a huge star, as Garry Shandling has passed away. The 66-year-old comedy icon had a career that spanned more than four decades, and his loss will be felt for countless years to come.
Garry died suddenly in a Los Angeles hospital on March 24, sources tell TMZ. He wasn’t suffering from any illness and the source says he was healthy and speaking to people right before his unexpected death. In fact, on March 20, Garry was hanging with friends Bob Odenkirk, 53, and Kathy Griffin, 55. Sadly, sources tell TMZ that Garry died from “a massive heart attack, with no prior warning.”
The comic legend was born in Chicago, but he actually grew up in Tucson, Arizona. Garry graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in marketing, but his true passing was in writing. He moved to Los Angeles to find work in an advertising agency, but left that world behind after successfully selling a script for Sanford and Son to NBC.
From there, his writing career took off, as he would also write for Welcome Back, Kotter, according to Variety. Frustrated and bored with sit-com writing, Garry began performing stand-up in the late 1970s, finding success in the early 1980s. In 1984, he performed his first stand-up special, Garry Shandling: Alone in Vegas, for Showtime. He and Showtime would continue their partnership to launch his first comedy series, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, in 1986. The program would be nominated for four Emmy awards until its end in 1990.
Garry often substituted for the late Johnny Carson as the host of The Tonight Show, and he was actually offered $5 million to take over Late Night when David Letterman left the show in 1993. Garry declined. He also shot down the offer to take over The Late Late Show so he could focus on the mock behind-the-scenes-talk show sitcom, The Larry Sanders show, which he launched in 1992.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 21, 2016
Garry’s decision paid off. Running for 89 episodes, it garnished 56 Emmy nominations and three wins. After Larry Sanders, Garry continued to pursue acting, comedy and writing. He appeared in movies like Iron Man 2, The Dictator, and as the voice of Verne in the animated movie, Over the Hedge. He continued to perform stand-up until the day he sadly passed away.
Garry has never been married and he was very protective about his private life. He lived with actress and onetime Playboy model Linda Doucett from 1987 until 1994. He was also one of the few people who attended the funeral of Farrah Fawcett. Outside of comedy, Garry’s interests included basketball and boxing.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Garry’s family and friends during their time of loss.