Garry Shandling, star of The Larry Sanders Show, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 66. According to TMZ, he died of a massive heart attack without any warning. Shandling made comedy history with The Larry Sanders Show, which served as a breakout role for many comedians.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. The Show, Which Ran from 1992 to 1998, Featured Celebrities Playing Exaggerated Versions of Themselves
Garry Shandling had starred in another sitcom, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, where he essentially played himself and often directly addressed the audience. In one episode, he was a guest on an LA morning show, which sparked his idea for The Larry Sanders Show.
The show was about Larry, the host of a late night talk show, and his adventure with his producer Artie, his sidekick Hank, the production staff, and celebrity guests. The show itself was meant to be a satire about Hollywood, including celebrities who played parodies of themselves. It was broadcast on HBO and, thus, had a lot of profanity. At first, each episode was recorded a second time with language that was suitable for syndication, but they stopped doing this halfway through the second season.
2. It Ranked on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time
The Larry Sanders Show was an incredibly influential television show. It was ranked on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time, placing 38th. It was a new kind of comedy, breaking ground and helping launch some comedians’ careers. The show also cemented some longtime friendships. Bob Odenkirk, who played Garry Shandling’s agent, stayed close friends with Shandling the rest of their lives. He and Shandling were photographed together just a few days before Shandling’s death.
3. ‘The Larry Sanders Show’ Won 24 Major Awards, Including Three Emmys
The groundbreaking show was recognized for its influential comedy. It won 24 major awards, which included Emmys for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, according to IMDB. The series also was nominated for multiple Golden Globes.
4. Shandling Started the Show Instead of Starring in a Late Night Talk Show
When Shandling started the show, he had been given the opportunity to take a very different path in life. Prior to the show, he had been performing stand-up routines on The Tonight Show and was a regular guest. In 1986, he replaced Joan Rivers as a permanent guest host and was even considered a possible successor to Johnny Carson. But when Jay Leno was chosen to replace Carson in 1992, he was offered his own late-night show at 1 a.m. Instead, he decided to start The Larry Sanders Show.
5. The Show Was Known for Creating Some Great Catchphrases
One of the show’s favorite features for fans is some of its great catchphrases. The most frequently known one is “Hey now,” a phrase that Hank says whenever he meets someone. “No flipping” was also frequently used, to request viewers not to change the channel during a commercial. In the series finale, the last thing Shandling said was: “You may now flip.”