In a year that won’t quit with celebrity deaths, we’ve got some more bad news to report. Earlier today, TMZ reported that legendary comedian and TV personality Garry Shandling died at the age of 66. Shandling was not known to be suffering from any illnesses, and the cause of death has yet to be reported.
Shandling’s influence on the comedy world was vast and legendary. Known for dry wit, Shandling first rocketed to the spotlight after an influential set on Johnny Carson in 1981, leading to more and more opportunities in the comedy world, culminating into his sitcom skewering delight It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, which ran from 1986-1990.
Later, Shandling would turn his witty eye to the world of late night talk shows with his Larry Sanders Show, a behind the scenes take of a talk show host just trying to put on a good show.
Shandling’s brand of humor would later influence shows like Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Arrested Development, all of which set the stage for modern TV comedies.
He began his career writing scripts for 70’s TV staples, Sanford and Son and Welcome Back Kotter. Later, he became known for dry, observational humor that propelled him to the top of the comedy scene in the 80’s. After his initial appearance on The Tonight Show, Shandling occasionally filled in for Carson and was later in contention to serve as his replacement, a job that eventually went to Jay Leno.
Shandling had remained relatively silent over the last few years, popping up for the occasional guest appearance, as well as having small roles in both Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Despite his relative silence, Shandling often appeared on TV best of lists for both Larry Sanders Show and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.
The world of comedy owes a debt to Shandling, and despite his death his influence will be felt for years to come. It might be a slightly less funny world without Shandling walking among us, but he left a vast catalogue of humor to keep us laughing from now into forever.
Rest in peace, Garry.