Garry Shandling was a comedian, actor, writer and producer best known for his work on the television comedies The Larry Sanders Show and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show. He was nominated for 19 Emmy Awards, winning one in 1998 in the category of outstanding writing for a comedy series, for Sanders. He was also nominated in 1995 and 1996 for two Golden Globes, for his comedic performance on the series.
Sanders , which ran for six seasons on HBO during the 1990s, was a hilarious, often corrosive behind-the-scenes look at a late-night talk show. In his earlier series, the more experimental It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, Shandling played a version of himself: a neurotic, self-obsessed stand-up comedian. It aired on Showtime from 1986 to 1990, with a toned-down version airing from 1988 to 1990 on Fox.
He also appeared on numerous other television series, including The Ben Stiller Show, Caroline in the City and The X-Files, as well as the movies Love Affair, starring Warren Beatty, Annette Bening and Katharine Hepburn; Mixed Nuts, starring Steve Martin; Doctor Dolittle, starring Eddie Murphy; Hurlyburly, with Sean Penn and Kevin Spacey; What Planet Are You From?, with Bening and John Goodman; Town & Country, with Beatty and Diane Keaton; Zoolander, starring Stiller; Trust the Man, with David Duchovny, Julianne Moore and Billy Crudup; Iron Man 2, starring Robert Downey Jr.; The Dictator, starring Sacha Baron Cohen; and Captain America: Winter Soldier, starring Chris Evans.
Additionally, Shandling served as an executive producer on both of his series, as well as on his televised stand-up specials Garry Shandling: Alone in Vegas, The Garry Shandling Show: 25th Anniversary Special and Garry Shandling: Stand-Up.
The comedy icon got his start in the early 1970s, when he moved from Tucson, Arizona, where he grew up, to Los Angeles to pursue work as a TV writer. He began by writing advertising copy, but soon became a staff writer on series that included Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter.
In 1977, in the aftermath of an automobile accident in which he nearly died, he began concentrating on stand-up comedy. He soon developed his distinctive on-stage persona and began performing regularly at the Comedy Store and other popular stand-up clubs. In 1981, he had a career-defining moment, with a spot on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Shandling and Carson hit it off and Shandling eventually replaced Joan Rivers as the late-night show's permanent guest host.
He also served as host of the 52nd and 56th Emmy Awards, and was one of a group of hosts for the 55th Emmys.
Shandling died March 24, 2016, in Los Angeles. He was 66.