Comedian, actor, writer and producer Garry Shandling, known for “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” has died, TMZ reported on Thursday (March 24).
He died at an L.A. hospital on Thursday, according to the outlet. A cause of death has not been released. He was not known to be suffering from any illnesses, and just a few days ago retweeted Kathy Griffin’s photo of himself, her and Bob Odenkirk.
Born in Chicago, he was raised in Tucson, Ariz., 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.
In 1986, he created his own sitcom “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” for Showtime. The show 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.
His second show came with “The Larry Sanders Show” on HBO, which ran from 1992 to 1998. He starred and co-created the comedy, set in the office of a fictional late-night talk show, with Dennis Klein. Shandling was nominated for 18 Emmys for the show and, along with Peter Tolan, won an Emmy for the series finale.
“The Larry Sanders Show” was said to have a lasting impact on comedy at HBO, influencing such series as “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” It cracked several “best of” lists, including Time’s 100 Best TV Shows of All Time.
NBC offered him $5 million to take over “Late Night” when David Letterman moved to CBS in 1993, but he declined. He was also offered “The Late Late Show” but declined to do the “Larry Sanders Show.”
He was also a formidable host, hosting for both the Grammys and Emmy Awards several times.
He appeared in and did voices for films including “Iron Man 2,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Dr. Dolittle,” “Zoolander” and “Over the Hedge.”