George Carlin, Grammy-Winning Comedian, Dies at 71

Monday, June 23, 2008
The Associated Press as told to Foxnews
 

A great comedian, Carlin will definitely be missed.  He took comedy and pushed the button a little further but that was what so great about him…..flagranny2

                                                                                                             

Los Angeles, Calif. – 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, who had a history of heart trouble, went into St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon complaining of chest pain and died later that evening, said his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He had performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.

“He was a genius and I will miss him dearly,” Jack Burns, who was the other half of a comedy duo with Carlin in the early 1960s, told The Associated Press.

Carlin’s jokes constantly pushed accepted boundaries of comedy and language, particularly with his routine on the “Seven Words” — all of which are more or taboo on broadcast TV and radio to this day. When he uttered all seven at a show in Milwaukee in 1972, he was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace, freed on $150 bail — and typically unapologetic on his release.

A Wisconsin judge dismissed the case, saying the language was indecent but citing free speech and the lack of any disturbance.

When the words were later 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 during hours when children might be listening.

“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.

Carlin served as host of the first epidsode of “Saturday Night Live” in 1975 and appeared some 130 times on “The Tonight Show.”

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.”

He won four Grammy Awards, each for best spoken comedy album, and was nominated for five Emmy awards. On Tuesday, it was announced that Carlin was being awarded the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

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. r Carlin 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.”

Eventually Carlin lost the buttoned-up look, favoring the beard, ponytail and all-black attire for which he came to be known.

But even with his decidedly adult-comedy bent, Carlin never lost his childlike sense of mischief, even voicing kid-friendly projects like episodes of the TV show “Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends” and the spacey Volkswagen bus Fillmore in the 2006 Pixar hit “Cars.”

Carlin’s first wife, Brenda, died in 1997. He is survived by wife Sally Wade; daughter Kelly Carlin McCall; son-in-law Bob McCall; brother Patrick Carlin; and sister-in-law Marlene Carlin.

Advertisements

Breaking News-‘Newhart’ Actress Suzanne Pleshette Dies at 70

Sunday, January 20, 2008
 3_61_pleshette_suzanne.jpg                 

LOS ANGELES — Suzanne Pleshette, the beautiful, husky-voiced film and Broadway theater star best known for her role as Bob Newhart’s sardonic wife on television’s long-running “The Bob Newhart Show,” has died, said her attorney Robert Finkelstein. She was 70.

Pleshette, who underwent chemotherapy for lung cancer in 2006, died of respiratory failure Saturday evening at her Los Angeles home, said attorney and family friend Robert Finkelstein. She was 70.  She was born on January 31, 1937 in New York City, New York

“The Bob Newhart Show, a hit throughout its six-year run, starred comedian Newhart as a Chicago psychiatrist surrounded by eccentric patients. Pleshette provided the voice of reason.

For info on Pleshette’s background on her film history see [Susan Pleshette]                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Joey Bishop, Last of the ‘Rat Pack,’ Dies at 89

Thursday, October 18, 2007

 LOS ANGELES —  Joey Bishop, the stone-faced comedian who found success in nightclubs, television and movies but became most famous as a member of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack, has died at 89.He was the group’s last surviving member. Peter Lawford died in 1984, Sammy Davis Jr. in 1990, Dean Martin in 1995, and Sinatra in 1998.

Bishop died Wednesday night of multiple causes at his home in Newport Beach, publicist and longtime friend Warren Cowan said Thursday.

The Rat Pack became a show business sensation in the early 1960s, appearing at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in shows that combined music and comedy in a seemingly chaotic manner.

The Rat Pack faded after Kennedy’s assassination, but the late 1990s brought a renaissance, with the group depicted in an HBO movie and portrayed by imitators in Las Vegas and elsewhere. The movie “Ocean’s Eleven” was even remade in 2003 with George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the lead roles.

Bishop defended his fellow performers’ rowdy reputations in a 1998 interview.

“Are we remembered as being drunk and chasing broads?” he asked. “I never saw Frank, Dean, Sammy or Peter drunk during performances. That was only a gag. And do you believe these guys had to chase broads? They had to chase ’em away.”

Reviewers often claimed that Bishop played a minor role, but Sinatra knew otherwise. He termed the comedian “the Hub of the Big Wheel,” with Bishop coming up with some of the best one-liners and beginning many jokes with his favorite phrase, “Son of a gun!”

“He was the perfect match for the Rat Pack. He fit right in like an old shoe,” Hollywood’s honorary mayor, Johnny Grant, said Thursday.

The quintet lived it up whenever members were free of their own commitments. They appeared together in such films as “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Sergeants 3” and proudly gave honorary membership to a certain fun-loving politician from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy, at whose inauguration gala Bishop served as master of ceremonies.

The full story here