Garry Shandling

Comedian Garry Shandling dead at 66

Comedian Garry Shandling, known for “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” died Thursday. He was 66. Los Angeles Police officer Tony Im told the Associated Press that Shandling died Thursday in Los Angeles. Im said officers were dispatched to Shandling’s home Thursday for a reported medical emergency. Shandling was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A coroner’s official said late Thursday that Shandling’s death appears to be from natural causes and no autopsy is planned. Lt. David Smith told the Associated Press there has been no official cause of death determination yet, but medical records will be used to determine how the 66-year-old comedian died. An innovative and eccentric humorist with pillowy lips and a voice that always seemed on the verge of a whine, Shandling claimed to disdain too much logic cluttering his life. “The answer isn’t gonna be in the facts,” he told The Associated Press in 2009. “It’s gonna be in intuition. That’s how I work creatively. I’m always teaching people that the answer to that creative question is right here, in the room, between us here.” More to the point, it was dealing with the questions he confronted in himself. Born on Nov. 29, 1949 in Chicago, Shandling was raised in Tucson, Arizona. On arriving in Los Angeles as a young adult, it was a short hop from a brief stint in the advertising business to comedy writing and stand-up. Then in the 1980s, he began to experiment with TV comedy, and to toy with the sitcom form, with his first series, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” a Showtime project that made no bones about its inherently artificial nature: the actors in this otherwise standard domestic comedy routinely broke the fourth wall to comment on what they were up to. Even the theme song began with the explanatory lyrics, “The theme to Garry’s show….” Then, in August 1992, Shandling created his comic masterpiece with “The Larry Sanders Show,” which starred him as an egomaniacal late-night TV host with an angst-ridden show-biz life behind the scenes. It was just three months after Carson had retired from “The Tonight Show,” where Shandling had appeared as a stand-up and occasional Carson stand-in. It seemed a wry but deeply felt homage to the King of Late Night. But it was more. “Larry Sanders” proved to be an act of courage, a brave effort led by someone portraying a character dangerously close to himself. As Larry, Garry dug deep to confront his own demons, and did it brilliantly as the series teetered between dual realities: public and private; make-believe and painfully true.

Was sad to hear about this yesterday..  Of course, most recently, Garry was the obnoxious “senator” in Iron Man2 who spars with RDJ’s “Tony Stark” character, a role he reprised in the second Captain America movie.  Thanks for the laughs, Garry.  R.I.P.