Garry Shandling

Garry Shandling

Shandling at the Night of Comedy 9 benefit in Beverly Hills, California on April 30, 2011
Birth name Garry Emmanuel Shandling
Born (1949-11-29)November 29, 1949
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died March 24, 2016(2016-03-24) (aged 66)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Medium Stand-up, television, film
Alma mater University of Arizona
Years active 1975–2016
Genres Observational comedy, satire, cringe comedy
Subject(s) Self-deprecation, human interaction, everyday life
Influences Woody Allen, Johnny Carson
Influenced Ricky Gervais, Judd Apatow, Jon Stewart, Louis C.K.

Garry Emmanuel Shandling (November 29, 1949 – March 24, 2016) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer, best known for his work in It's Garry Shandling's Show and The Larry Sanders Show.

Shandling began his career writing for sitcoms, such as Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter. He made a successful stand-up performance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and became a frequent guest-host on the show. Shandling was for a time considered the leading contender to replace Carson (other hopefuls were Joan Rivers, David Letterman, and David Brenner). In 1986, he created It's Garry Shandling's Show for Showtime. It was nominated for four Emmy Awards (including one for Shandling) and lasted until 1990. His second show titled The Larry Sanders Show, which began airing on HBO in 1992, was even more successful. Shandling was nominated for eighteen Emmy Awards for the show and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 1998, along with Peter Tolan, for writing the series finale. In film, he had a recurring role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He also lent his voice to Verne in DreamWorks Animation's Over the Hedge.

During his three decade career, Shandling was nominated for nineteen Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards, along with many other awards and nominations. He served as host of the Grammy Awards four times and as host of the Emmy Awards three times.

Early life

Shandling was born Garry Emmanuel Shandling on November 29, 1949[1] in Chicago, Illinois[2] to a Jewish family. He grew up in Tucson, Arizona, one of three sons of Irving Shandling, a print shop owner, and Muriel Estelle (née Singer), a pet store proprietor.[3][4]

The family moved to Tucson so that Garry's older brother Barry could receive treatment for cystic fibrosis.[2] Barry died when Garry was 10.[5] Shandling attended Palo Verde High School.


After graduation from Palo Verde High School, he attended the University of Arizona, at first majoring in electrical engineering, but eventually completing a degree in marketing and pursuing a year of postgraduate studies in creative writing.[6]

In 1973, Shandling moved to Los Angeles. He worked at an advertising agency for a time, and then sold a script for the popular NBC sitcom Sanford and Son.[7] In addition to Sanford and Son, Shandling wrote scripts for the sitcoms Welcome Back, Kotter and attended a story meeting for Three's Company.[8]

In 1977, Shandling was involved in an auto accident in Beverly Hills that left him in critical condition for two days and hospitalized for 2 weeks with a crushed spleen.[2] The accident inspired him to pursue a career in comedy,[9] and he later turned the accident into part of his comedy.[5]

Stand-up comedy

Shandling became a stand-up comedian because he was frustrated by situation comedy's "formulaic writing".[7] In 1978, Shandling performed his first stand-up routine at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. A year later Shandling was one of the few performers to cross the picket line when a group of comedians organized a boycott against the Comedy Store, protesting owner Mitzi Shore's policy of not paying comedians to perform. According to William Knoedelseder, Shandling "was the scion of a family with … decidedly antiunion views. He had not shared the struggling comic experience. He was a successful sitcom writer trying to break into stand-up, and prior to the strike, Shore had refused to put him in the regular lineup because she didn't think he was good enough. Of course, that changed the minute he crossed the picket line."[10]

His persona was an anxiety-ridden, grimacing, guarded, confused man on the verge of losing control. After a couple of years on the road, a talent scout from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson booked him to appear as a guest in 1981. Shandling substituted for Carson on a regular basis until 1987,[7] when he left to focus on his cable show leaving Jay Leno as permanent guest host and Carson's eventual successor.

In 1984, Shandling performed his first stand-up special Garry Shandling: Alone in Vegas for Showtime,[11] followed by a second televised special in 1986 titled The Garry Shandling Show: 25th Anniversary Special, also for Showtime.[12] In 1991, a third special titled Garry Shandling: Stand-Up was part of the HBO Comedy Hour.[13]

TV series

It's Garry Shandling's Show

In 1985, Shandling and co-writer Alan Zweibel went on to create the surreal comedy series It's Garry Shandling's Show. It ran for 72 episodes on the Showtime cable television network through 1990. The edited reruns played on the Fox network beginning in 1988.[14] Shandling wrote 15 episodes of the series.

The series subverted the standard sitcom format by having its characters openly acknowledge that they were all part of a television series. Building on a concept that harked back to The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, in which George Burns would frequently break the "fourth wall" and speak directly to the audience, Shandling's show went so far as to incorporate the audience and elements of the studio itself into the storylines, calling attention to the artifice of the show.[6][14]

The series was nominated for four Emmy Awards,[6] including one for Shandling. He won an American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Performance in a Series, and won four CableACE awards, two for Best Comedy Series. The show also won an award for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy from the Television Critics Association.[15]

The Larry Sanders Show

Shandling during the 1994 Emmy Awards rehearsals

In 1992, Shandling launched another critical and commercial success by creating the mock behind-the-scenes talk show sitcom The Larry Sanders Show. It ran for 89 episodes through to 1998 on HBO. It garnered 56 Emmy Award nominations and three wins. Shandling based the series on his experiences guest hosting The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.[16]

In 1993, NBC offered Shandling $5 million to take over Late Night when David Letterman announced his highly publicized move to CBS, but Shandling declined.[6][17] He was subsequently offered The Late Late Show but also declined in favor of doing The Larry Sanders Show.[6]

Shandling wrote 38 episodes of the show, and directed three in the series' final season. Shandling was nominated for 18 Emmy Awards for the series;[6] five for acting, seven for writing, and six for being co-executive producer with Brad Grey. He won one Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for the series finale "Flip". He has also been nominated for two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor (Musical or Comedy) in 1994 and 1995. He won two American Comedy Awards for Funniest Male Performance in a Comedy Series, eight CableACE Awards, and a BAFTA Award.[7] The show also influenced other shows, such as Entourage, 30 Rock, and Curb Your Enthusiasm in which guest stars play themselves in episodes of the series.[18]

In 2002, TV Guide named The Larry Sanders Show as 38th Greatest Show of All Time. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly ranked the series the 28th Best Show of the past 25 years. It was also included on Time magazine's 100 Greatest Shows of All Time.[19]

The first season was re-released in 2007, along with a Not Just the Best of the Larry Sanders Show, which were Shandling's pick of the best 23 episodes.[20]

In January 2015, Shandling returned with fellow cast members from The Larry Sanders Show for Entertainment Weekly’s Reunions issue. He was reunited with co-stars Rip Torn, Jeffrey Tambor, Sarah Silverman, Penny Johnson Jerald, Wallace Langham, and Mary Lynn Rajskub.[21]

Other work

Shandling at the 1992 Emmy Awards

Shandling hosted the Grammy Awards in 1990, 1991, 1993, and 1994. He hosted the Emmy Awards in 2000 and 2004, and co-hosted (giving the opening monologue) in 2003.[6] He appeared occasionally in films, beginning with a cameo as Mr. Vertisey in The Night We Never Met. He played supporting roles in Love Affair and Mixed Nuts, Dr. Dolittle (1998) as the voice of a live-action pigeon, the David Rabe play adaptation Hurlyburly (1998), and Trust the Man (2001). Shandling wrote and starred in Mike Nichols' What Planet Are You From? (2000), and co-starred with Warren Beatty and others in Town & Country (2001).

He also appeared in a brief cameo in Zoolander (2001). Again voicing an animal, Shandling co-starred as Verne in Over the Hedge (2006), which went on to become one of his best known roles.[22] He appeared in Iron Man 2 (2010) as Senator Stern and reprised the role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). He appeared uncredited as a health inspector in The Dictator (2012).

In 2006, Ricky Gervais interviewed Shandling for a British documentary, citing him as a comic influence.[23] The reviews of British TV critics were mixed – one Guardian reviewer described it as "the uneasiest interview ever",[24] another as Gervais' most interesting[25] but the general consensus was that it felt "awkward",[26][27][28] due to both men's different comedic styles.[29][30]

He starred as himself representing Fox Mulder alongside Téa Leoni as Dana Scully in The X-Files season 7 spoof episode "Hollywood A.D."[31]

Shandling, along with co-author David Rensin, wrote Confessions of a Late Night Talk Show Host: The Autobiography of Larry Sanders written in the voice of his alter-ego Larry Sanders.[32]

In January 2016, Shandling was the featured guest on two different online shows. On January 13, Shandling appeared on episode 299 of the podcast You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes,[33] which ran for over 2 hours and displayed many deeper, spiritual sides to Shandling along with much spontaneous humor. Just a week later, on January 20, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld debuted the now-poignantly titled episode "It's Great That Garry Shandling Is Still Alive."[34]

Personal life

Shandling never married nor had children.[35] He revealed little about his personal life. He shared an apartment with his fiancée Linda Doucett, from 1987 until 1994; on The Larry Sanders Show, Doucett portrayed Darlene, Hank Kingsley's doting assistant.[36] In 1994, when their relationship ended, Shandling had her dismissed from The Larry Sanders Show. Doucett filed a lawsuit against Shandling and Grey's production company, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, for sexual harassment and wrongful termination. The case was settled out of court in 1997 for $1 million.[37]

Shandling played a lot of basketball and boxed four times per week.[18] An avid boxing fan, he owned the Wildcard West Boxing Gym in Santa Monica, California,[7] along with director Peter Berg.[38] He was also a former amateur radio operator, at one time holding the callsign KD6OY.[39]

Awards and nominations

Shandling won two British Comedy Awards,[40] twelve CableACE Awards[41] (including eight for The Larry Sanders Show and four for It's Garry Shandling's Show), a BAFTA Award[40] and was nominated for two Writers Guild of America Awards for The Larry Sanders Show. He received three American Comedy Awards,[41] two Satellite Award nominations,[42] and in 2004 he was presented with the Austin Film Festival's Outstanding Television Writer Award.[43]


On March 24, 2016, Shandling died in his home in Los Angeles, California at age 66. The Los Angeles Police Department reported that he suddenly collapsed in his home and was rushed to a hospital, suffering from an apparent medical emergency. However, by the time the paramedics had arrived, Shandling was already unconscious. He had suffered "a massive heart attack."[6]

Prior to his death, Shandling reflected on lost friends, such as Robin Williams, by commenting, "What I want at my funeral is an actual boxing referee to do a count, and at 'Five,' just wave it off and say, 'He's not getting up.'", prompting Matt Roush of TV Guide to remark (following Shandling's death), "Seriously, who wouldn't want to go a few more rounds with the great Garry Shandling?".[44]


Shandling at the 39th Primetime Emmy Awards in 1987
Year Title Role Notes
1993 The Night We Never Met Mr. Vertisey Uncredited
1994 Love Affair Kip DeMay
1994 Mixed Nuts Stanley
1998 Dr. Dolittle Male Pigeon (voice)
1998 Hurlyburly Artie
2000 What Planet Are You From? Harold Anderson Also producer, writer
2001 Town & Country Griffin Morris
2001 Zoolander Himself
2002 Run Ronnie Run Himself
2005 Trust the Man Dr. Beekman
2006 Over the Hedge Verne (voice)
2006 Hammy's Boomerang Adventure Verne (voice) Short film
2010 Iron Man 2 Senator Stern
2011 The Brain Storm Garry Shandling Short film
2012 The Dictator Health inspector Uncredited
2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier Senator Stern
2016 The Jungle Book[45] Ikki (voice) Posthumous release


Year Title Role Notes
1984 Garry Shandling: Alone in Vegas Himself Stand-up special
1986 The Garry Shandling Show: 25th Anniversary Special Garry Shandling parody of a The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson type anniversary
1986–1987 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Himself (guest host) 7 episodes; June and October 1986, January and September 1987
1986–1990 It's Garry Shandling's Show Garry Shandling 72 episodes; also co-creator, executive producer, writer
1987 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) Episode: "Garry Shandling/Los Lobos"
1990 Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme Jack TV movie
1990 32nd Annual Grammy Awards Himself (host) TV special
1991 33rd Annual Grammy Awards Himself (host) TV special
1991 Garry Shandling: Stand-Up Himself Stand-up special
1992 The Ben Stiller Show Garry Shandling Episode: "With Garry Shandling"
1992–1998 The Larry Sanders Show Larry Sanders 89 episodes; also co-creator, executive producer, writer, director
1993 35th Annual Grammy Awards Himself (host) TV special
1994 36th Annual Grammy Awards Himself (host) TV special
1996 Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Garry (voice) Episode: "Sticky Notes"
1998 Caroline in the City Steve Episode: "Caroline and the Marriage Counselor: Part 2"
2000 The X-Files Himself Episode: "Hollywood A.D."
2000 52nd Primetime Emmy Awards Himself (host) TV special
2002 My Adventures in Television Himself Episode: "Death Be Not Pre-Empted"
2003 55th Primetime Emmy Awards Himself (co-host) TV special; first of 11 co-hosts, gave opening monologue
2004 56th Primetime Emmy Awards Himself (host) TV special
2006 Tom Goes to the Mayor Captain Pat Lewellen (voice) Episode: "Couple's Therapy"

As writer

Year Title Notes
1975–1976 Sanford and Son 4 episodes
1976 Welcome Back, Kotter Episode: "Horshack vs. Carvelli"



  1. Schudel, Matt; Bernstein, Adam (2016-03-24). "Garry Shandling, who parodied TV's conventions in two hit comedy shows, dies at 66". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  2. 1 2 3 Allis, Tim; LaBrecque, Ron (July 21, 1986). "Johnny Carson and Joan Rivers Can Agree on One Thing: Garry Shandling Is Perfect for Her Old Tonight Show Job". People. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  3. "Garry Shandling profile". Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  4. Steinberg, Jacques (January 28, 2007). "Hey Now: It's Garry Shandling's Obsession". The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
  5. 1 2 "Garry Shandling Dead at 66". March 24, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Stedman, Alex (March 24, 2016). "Garry Shandling Dies at 66". Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Lincoln, Ross A. (March 24, 2016). "Garry Shandling Dies: 'Larry Sanders' Creator-Star Was 66". Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  8. "Cathy's World: Garry Shandling's 'Larry'". Retrieved December 25, 2002.
  9. Hirschberg, Lynn (May 31, 1998). "Garry Shandling Goes Dark". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  10. Knoedelseder, William (2009), I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy's Golden Era, New York: Public Affairs Books, pp. 205–06, ISBN 1-58648-896-1
  11. Erickson, Hal. "Garry Shandling: Alone in Las Vegas (1984)". All Movie Guide. Retrieved June 23, 2009.
  12. "The Garry Shandling Show: 25th Anniversary Special (1986)". Retrieved June 23, 2009.
  13. "Garry Shandling: Stand-Up". The New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2009.
  14. 1 2 Lloyd, Robert (October 20, 2009). "Dollying through that fourth wall on 'It's Garry Shandling's Show': The funny guy deconstructed the sitcom on his Showtime series, which is newly out on DVD". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  15. "Past winners of the TCA Awards". Television Critics Association. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  16. Itzkoff, Dave (October 29, 2010). "Garry and Larry and Jeffrey and Hank". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  17. Carter, Bill (2010). The War For Late Night. ISBN 0-452-29749-4. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  18. 1 2 Steinberg, Jacques (January 28, 2007). "Hey Now: It's Garry Shandling's Obsession". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  19. "Garry Shandling Net Worth". Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  20. "Not Just the Best of The Larry Sanders Show". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  21. "'Larry Sanders' reunion". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  22. McIver, Brian. "Close to the Edge to over the Hedge; STAR TAKES TIME OUT FROM ACTION MOVIES TO MAKE A FILM FOR HIS KIDS Die Hard Star Bruce Goes Green and Cuddly". Daily Record. Glasgow, Scotland: republished in
  23. "Gervais to meet more comedy idols". BBC News. April 27, 2006. Retrieved July 23, 2007.
  24. Wiseman, Eva (February 24, 2007). "TV quick!". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved July 23, 2007.
  25. Flett, Kathryn (December 31, 2006). "Something to get your teeth into". The Guardian. London. Retrieved July 23, 2007.
  26. French, Karl (December 23, 2006). "Television and Radio: Television". The Financial Times. Retrieved July 23, 2007.
  27. Billen, Andrew (March 22, 2007). "No, I don't fear death – I'm just frightened of dying". The Times. London, UK. Retrieved July 23, 2007.
  28. Deedes, Henry (January 5, 2007). "By George, we salute you for your indefatigability". The Independent. London, UK. Retrieved July 23, 2007.
  29. John, Ian (January 6, 2006). [ttp:// "Ricky can't quite curb his enthusiasm"]. The Times. London, UK. Retrieved July 23, 2007.
  30. Steinberg, Jacques (January 28, 2007). "Hey Now: It's Garry Shandling's Obsession". The New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2008.
  31. ""The X Files" Hollywood A.D. (2000)". IMDB. Retrieved April 7, 2008.
  32. Meagher, L.D. "The whole truth (and nothing but the truth) about Larry Sanders: 'Confessions of a Late Night Talk Show Host The Autobiography of Larry Sanders As Told to Garry Shandling'". Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  33. Staff (March 25, 2016). "Conan O'Brien, Marc Maron, And Seth Meyers Pay Tribute To Garry Shandling". Indiewire. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  34. Sacks, Ethan (March 24, 2016). "Garry Shandling, acclaimed comic and star of 'The Larry Sanders Show,' dead at 66". Daily News. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  35. Cleary, Tom (March 24, 2016). "Garry Shandling Dead: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know".
  36. Halbfinger, David M. (March 13, 2006). "A Studio Boss and a Private Eye Star in a Bitter Hollywood Tale". The New York Times.
  37. Weiner, Allison Hope; Halbfinger, David M. (March 19, 2006). "Splitting Up, Hollywood-Style, Means a Settlement and a Script". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  38. T.V. legend Garry Shandling talks boxing in his Wild Card West gym. February 19, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2016 via YouTube.
  39. "QRZ.COM Ham Radio 1993 Callsign Database by QRZ.COM". Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  40. 1 2 "US comedian Garry Shandling dies, aged 66". RTE. March 24, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  41. 1 2 Roots, Kimberly (March 24, 2016). "Garry Shandling Dead at 66". TVLine. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  42. "1997 Satellite Award Winners". International Press Academy. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  43. "Highlights from the festival". Austin American Statesman. October 14, 2004. p. 31.
  44. Roush, Matt (April 4, 2016). "Tribute: Garry Shandling: 1949 – 2016", TV Guide, p. 13.
  45. Thompson, Luke Y. (February 22, 2016). "Jon Favreau Says 'The Jungle Book' Will Be His 'Avatar,' Reveals New Images". Forbes. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  46. "CONFESSIONS OF A LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 March 2013.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Garry Shandling.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/1/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.