Garry Shandling has died after suffering a massive heart attack, various sources reported today. The incident was unexpected, and not precipitated by any illness.
Shandling was the creator and star of several groundbreaking shows such as It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and The Larry Sanders Show, which were hilariously scathing examinations of the show-business industry. The shows portrayed the biz as a shallow swamp of vain celebrities and their sycophantic hangers-on. Shandling’s brilliant depiction of an insecure jerk at the center of a swirling maelstrom of entertainment puffery and egoism garnered numerous awards and accolades, including Emmys and Golden Globes.
Shandling’s early career was as a TV writer for shows such as Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter, and he successfully transitioned to stand-up comedy, and often guest-hosted The Tonight Show during the Johnny Carson era.
Shandling also worked in movies, and had small roles in Love Affair (1994), Mixed Nuts (1994), Dr. Dolittle (1998), Hurlyburly (1998), Zoolander (2001), and Trust the Man (2005). He wrote and starred in Mike Nichols’ What Planet Are You From? (2000), and appeared with Warren Beatty in Town & Country (2001), and voiced Verne the turtle in the animated Over the Hedge (2006). He most recently played Senator Stern in Iron Man 2 (2010) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).