GARRY SHANDLING Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Name: Garry Shandling                                                                   
Born: 29 November 1949 Chicago, Illinois, U.S.                                         
Garry Shandling (born November 29, 1949) is an American comedian. He is best           
known for his work in It's Garry Shandling's Show and The Larry Sanders Show.           
Shandling was born to a Jewish American family in Chicago, Illinois and grew up         
in Tucson, Arizona. He had an older brother, Barry, who died from cystic               
fibrosis when Garry was 10. He attended Palo Verde High Magnet School. After           
graduation, he attended the University of Arizona, at first majoring in                 
electrical engineering, but eventually completing a degree in marketing and             
pursuing a year of post-graduate studies in creative writing.                           
In 1973, Shandling moved to Los Angeles, California, made contact with comedian         
George Carlin after catching one of his shows, worked at an advertising agency         
for a time, then sold a script for the popular NBC sitcom Sanford and Son.             
Shandling's script became the November 21, 1975 "Sanford and the Rising Son,"           
the episode in which Ah Chew (played by Pat Morita) turned junk-yard owner Fred         
Sanford's house into a Japanese restaurant. Shandling continued to do comedy           
scriptwriting for sitcoms including Welcome Back, Kotter and Three's Company.           
In 1977, Shandling was involved in an auto accident in Beverly Hills that put           
him in critical condition for weeks. He later turned the accident into part of         
his stand-up comedy act.                                                               
In 1978, Shandling performed his first stand-up routine at the Comedy Store in         
Los Angeles. His persona was that of an anxiety-ridden, grimacing, guarded,             
confused man who seemed always on the verge of losing control. After a couple of       
years on the road, a talent scout from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson         
caught his act and booked him to appear as a guest host on March 18, 1981.             
Shandling began substituting for Carson on a regular basis along with Jay Leno         
until 1985.                                                                             
Shandling and co-writer Alan Zweibel went on to create the surreal comedy series       
It's Garry Shandling's Show in 1985, which ran 72 episodes on the Showtime cable       
television network through 1990, with edited reruns playing on the Fox network         
beginning in 1988.                                                                     
The series, a popular critical hit, became known for its Brechtian use of what         
is known in theater as "breaking the fourth wall", a concept in which characters       
turn away from the action and comment directly on the proceedings or make asides       
to the audience. While Groucho Marx was a pioneer of the technique in the 1930s         
movie Animal Crackers, and television had occasionally broken the fourth wall           
since at least the 1950s TV series starring Ernie Kovacs and the team of George         
Burns and Gracie Allen, and sporadically afterward, Shandling's series employed         
the idea as a central conceit, and influenced such future wall-breaking series         
as The Bernie Mac Show and the UK's Sean's Show.                                       
In 1992, Shandling had another critical and commercial success creating the mock       
behind-the-scenes talk show sitcom The Larry Sanders Show, which ran 89 episodes       
through 1998 on the cable network HBO, garnering 56 Emmy Award nominations and         
three wins.                                                                             
In 1993, NBC offered Shandling $5 million to take over the late-night                   
comedic talk show Late Night when host David Letterman announced his highly             
publicized move to CBS, but Shandling declined. The Larry Sanders Show later           
spoofed the network's efforts to find a Letterman successor.                           
Shandling has appeared occasionally in movies, beginning with a cameo as dental         
patient Mr. Vertisey in The Night We Never Met. He played supporting roles in           
the 1994 films Love Affair and Mixed Nuts (a.k.a. Lifesavers), Dr. Dolittle (1998)     
as the voice of a live-action pigeon, the David Rabe play adaptation Hurlyburly         
(1998), and Trust the Man. He wrote and starred in director Mike Nichols' What         
Planet Are You From? (2000), and co-starred with Warren Beatty and others in           
Town & Country. Again voicing an animal, Shandling co-starred as Verne the             
turtle in the computer animated comic strip adaptation Over the Hedge (2006)           
Shandling hosted the Grammy Awards from 1990 to 1995, and the Emmy Awards in           
2000 and 2004.                                                                         
In 2006, comedian Ricky Gervais interviewed Shandling for a British documentary         
citing him as a comic influence. The reviews of British TV critics were mixed           
– one Guardian reviewer described it as "the uneasiest interview ever",               
another as Gervais' most interesting but the general consensus was that it             
felt "awkward", a hallmark of each man's comedic style.