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Comedian Garry Shandling, whose entertainment career spanned decades, died Thursday. He was 66.
The two-time Golden Globe-nominated comic is best known for his influential roles on the comedy series The Larry Sanders Show (1992-1998) and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show (1986-1990). Most recently, the more private star appeared in mainstream movies like Marvel’s Captain America: Winter Soldier and Iron Man 2, and served as one of the many celebrity cameos in Zoolander 2.
Here are 12 additional facts about the groundbreaking comedian.
1. Shandling hosted invite-only basketball games at his Los Angeles home that were star-studded gatherings. The games included Sarah Silverman, Kevin Nealon, Bill Maher, David Duchovny, Craig Kilborn, Peter Berg, Sacha Baron Cohen, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Billy Crystal and Judd Apatow.
2. He gave Apatow his start. Shandling hired him to write jokes for the 1991 Grammy Awards show, and Apatow told GQ that he considered it “the biggest break of my career.” Apatow would go on to write for The Larry Sanders Show and ultimately become co-executive producer before the show ended in 1998.
3. He began his career writing for sitcoms in the 1970s, including Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter.
4. In 1977, Shandling was involved in an car accident in Beverly Hills that left him hospitalized. He told GQ the accident made him quit TV writing to do stand-up: “That was my big shift — I felt like I had a calling,” he told the magazine in 2010.
5. In 1998, Shandling sued his former manager Brad Grey for $100 million. Grey, then a partner in the powerhouse Brillstein-Grey management company, is now the chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. Shandling and Grey settled the suit out of court in 1999. Shandling’s suit alleged that Grey’s role as his manager and executive producer of The Larry Sanders Show represented a conflict of interest. The suit alleged that Grey was able to “triple-dip,” taking excess commissions and fees out of the HBO series.
6. Shandling and Grey sparred again in 2008 as part of the Anthony Pellicano trial. Pellicano was a former Los Angeles private investigator who was hired by several high-profile Hollywood figures and ultimately convicted of wiretapping and racketeering. During Pellicano’s trial, Grey said Pellicano was hired by his attorney, Bert Fields, to do work in association with Shandling’s lawsuit a decade earlier. In the case, Shandling testified that Grey and Fields mounted a public attack against him in the tabloids, and Pellicano allegedly was part of that “smear campaign.”
7. Shandling was nominated for 19 Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. In 1998, he won his first, and only, Emmy for outstanding writing for a comedy series for writing the series finale for The Larry Sanders Show.
8. He hosted the Grammy Awards in 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1994, and the Emmy Awards in 2000 and 2004.
9. Shandling co-owned the Wild Card West Boxing Club in Santa Monica, along with Berg.
10. The comedian initially studied electrical engineering at the University of Arizona before graduating with a degree in marketing.
11. Shandling appeared in a 2000 episode of The X-Files, playing himself (as a character playing Fox Mulder) in an episode titled “Hollywood A.D.”
12. On the Jan. 20 episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, he and Seinfeld toured Los Angeles in a Porsche 930 911 Turbo. During the episode, unfortunately titled “It’s Great That Garry Shandling Is Still Alive,” the pair discussed the deaths of fellow comics David Brenner and Robin Williams.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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