According to online reports this afternoon, comedian Garry Shandling, best known to television fans for his work in “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” has passed away.
Celebrity gossip site TMZ says the sixty-six-year-old comic died at a Los Angeles hospital. And the Daily Mail is reporting that Shandling suffered a massive heart attack just hours after talking with friends.
Los Angeles Police officer Tony Im told the Associated Press that paramedics were sent to Shandling’s home today for a reported medical emergency. Shandling was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Im had no details on when the call was placed or about the nature of the emergency. Police are expected to investigate.
Shandling started his career by writing for sitcoms such as ’70s hits “Sanford and Son” and “Welcome Back, Kotter.” But he made a name for himself as a stand-up comedian, and was reportedly in contention to replace Johnny Carson when the iconic comic left “The Tonight Show.”
In the mid-’80s, Shandling created the Showtime program “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” which was nominated for several Emmys. The comedy pioneered the practice of breaking the fourth wall and allowing the actors to talk to the audience.
His second program, HBO’s “The Larry Sanders Show,” was an even bigger hit. The ’90s sitcom, which offered a behind-the-scenes look at a late-night talk show host, won multiple Emmy Awards and is considered one of television’s greatest comedies.