Larry Shandling, the genius behind It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and The Larry Sanders Show has passed away, he was 66.
He passed away at a Los Angeles hospital on Thursday. According to reports, he had suffered a massive heart attack.
Born in Chicago and raised in Arizona, Shandling originally studied electrical engineering before he graduated with a marketing degree from University of Arizona. In 1973, he moved out to Los Angeles, where he’d use his collegiate studies to work at an advertising agency before eventually selling scripts for iconic sitcoms such as Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter.
By 1978, Shandling was performing stand-up around Los Angeles, specifically the legendary Comedy Store, where he began to make a name for himself in the burgeoning scene. After touring across the country for a couple of years, he caught the eye of a talent scout for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, who booked him as a guest in March 1981. (Video Clip)
The appearance was so good that Shandling would go on to serve as a guest host for Carson until 1987. Prior to this, however, he had filmed two stand-up specials for Showtime — 1984’s Alone in Vegas and 1986’s The Garry Shandling Show: 25th Anniversary Special — who gave him his first series called : It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, the metafictional series followed Shandling as himself, a stand-up comedian aware that he’s a sitcom character. As such, he would traditionally break the fourth wall and speak to the audience. The show ran until 1990 and was nominated for four Emmys.
Shortly after, HBO started ringing and gave Shandling his third stand-up special, 1991’s Garry Shandling: Stand-Up. The following year he would change the network’s original programming with his groundbreaking television series, The Larry Sanders Show.
Featuring a cast, ranging from Jeffrey Tambor to Rip Torn, Bob Odenkirk to Sarah Silverman, the landmark hit captured the behind-the-scenes exploits of a fictional late-night television show. The series ran from 1992 until 1998, receiving 18 Emmy nominations and finally winning one for its series finale.
Traces of the show’s influence can be seen in a number of critical and commercial smashes over the last two decades, whether it’s Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm or Tina Fey’s 30 Rock. Since then, The Larry Sanders Show has appeared in multiple “best-of” lists, including Time’s 100 Best TV Shows of All Time.
In 1993 he declined the offer to take over Late Night when David Letterman moved to CBS. He was even offered The Late Late Show, but remained true to The Larry Sanders Show.
RIP Larry Shandling
SOURCES: YouTube, Larry Shandling Videos
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