Comedian George Carlin dies at age 71
- 06-23-2008, 02:45 AM
Comedian George Carlin dies at age 71
June 23, 2008
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) - George Carlin, the dean of counterculture comedians whose biting insights on life and language were immortalized in his "Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV" routine, died of heart failure Sunday. He was 71.
Carlin went into a Santa Monica hospital Sunday afternoon complaining of chest pain and died later that evening, said his publicist, Jeff Abraham.
Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas. It was announced Tuesday that Carlin was being awarded the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
Carlin constantly pushed the envelop with his jokes, particularly with the "Seven Words" a routine called "The Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV."
When Carlin uttered all seven at a show in Milwaukee in 1972, he was arrested for disturbing the peace. And when they were played on a New York radio station, they resulted in a Supreme Court ruling in 1978 upholding the government's authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language.
"So my name is a footnote in American legal history, which I'm perversely kind of proud of," he told The Associated Press earlier this year.
He produced 23 comedy albums, 14 HBO specials, three books, a couple of TV shows and appeared in several movies. Carlin hosted the first broadcast of "Saturday Night Live" and noted on his Web site that he was "loaded on cocaine all week long."
When asked about the fallout from the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that ended with Janet Jackson's breast-baring "wardrobe malfunction," Carlin told the AP, "What are we, surprised?"
"There's an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body," he said. "It's reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have."
Carlin was born May 12, 1937 and grew up in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan, raised by a single mother. After dropping out of high school in the ninth grade, he joined the Air Force in 1954. He received three court-martials and numerous disciplinary punishments, according to his official Web site.
While in the Air Force he started working as an off-base disc jockey at a radio station in Shreveport, La., and after receiving a general discharge in 1957, took an announcing job at WEZE in Boston.
"Fired after three months for driving mobile news van to New York to buy pot," his Web site says.
From there he went on to a job on the night shift as a deejay at a radio station in Forth Worth, Texas. Carlin also worked variety of temporary jobs including a carnival organist and a marketing director for a peanut brittle.
In 1960, he left with a Texas radio buddy, Jack Burns, for Hollywood to pursue a nightclub career as comedy team Burns & Carlin. He left with $300, but his first break came just months later when the duo appeared on the Tonight Show with Jack Paar. rCarlin said he hoped to would emulate his childhood hero, Danny Kaye, the kindly, rubber-faced comedian who ruled over the decade that Carlin grew up in - the 1950s - with a clever but gentle humor reflective of its times.
Only problem was, it didn't work for him.
"I was doing superficial comedy entertaining people who didn't really care: Businessmen, people in nightclubs, conservative people. And I had been doing that for the better part of 10 years when it finally dawned on me that I was in the wrong place doing the wrong things for the wrong people," Carlin reflected recently as he prepared for his 14th HBO special, "It's Bad For Ya."
- 06-23-2008, 07:05 AM
06-23-2008, 08:20 AM
I miss him already. In honor of George, I say that none of us wash our hands today.
"I am legally blind and if I can Squat,deadlift and over all get myself to the gym then anyone can get their a$$ in gear and get strong!!" - malleus25
06-23-2008, 09:44 AM
06-23-2008, 10:26 AM
No! I honestly have to say, this is the first celebrity death I truly care about; George Carlin was one of the best social satirists of the 20th century.
06-23-2008, 12:34 PM
Carlin complained and joked about a lot, but each complaint/joke had a point behind it. He made a lot of sense and made very valid points behind each one. He was a very intelligent man and I always cried from laughter while watching his comedy. No other comedian has been able to do that for me. I'm hoping to see a tribute to him possibly on Comedy Central, so that we can all continue enjoying his comedy. There was definitely no other comedian like Carlin. I've also heard that he was a very down-to-earth, open-minded, caring, family man. My father had the chance to see Carlin perform in Las Vegas one year and said he had a blast. I, unfortunately, never got to see him. It sure would've been nice.
06-23-2008, 01:37 PM
06-23-2008, 10:08 PM
06-25-2008, 04:15 AM
06-25-2008, 05:43 AM
He was hands down the best ever and the king in my book !! Yesterday was such a terrible day for me....
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