Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Comic Garry Shandling, Creator of 'Larry Sanders Show' Dies

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Comic Garry Shandling, Creator of 'Larry Sanders Show' Dies

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES - Garry Shandling, who as an actor and comedian masterminded a brand of self-inflicted phony docudrama with "The Larry Sanders Show, has died. Los Angeles Police officer Tony Im said Shandling died Thursday in Los Angeles of an undisclosed cause. He was 66.

Im said fire officials were dispatched to Shandling's Los Angeles home Thursday morning for a reported medical emergency. Shandling was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Im did not have any details on the nature of the emergency. He said police will conduct a death investigation.

Coroner's spokesman Ed Winter said his office did not yet have any details about Shandling's death.

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.

Real-life celebrities appeared as guests on Larry's show-within- the-show, and also interacted with him "off the air."

David Duchovny, agreeing to come on the show, also came on to Larry romantically once he got the chance.

Jim Carrey delivered a rip-roaring comic tribute to his host on the final broadcast, then, during a commercial break, turned on him in rage over a long-ago slight. …

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