Garry Shandling

Active - 1985 - 2018  |   Born - Nov 29, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois, United States  |   Died - Mar 24, 2016   |   Genres - Comedy

Share on

Biography by Sandra Brennan

Comedian Garry Shandling was best known for his top-rated, award-winning parody of television talk shows The Larry Sanders Show, which aired on the HBO cable network from 1993 to 1998. He started out as a comedy writer for other sitcoms and as a standup comedian. He landed his first television show, the It's Garry Shandling's Show, on Fox in 1985. The show was heavily autobiographical, to the point of replicating his apartment on a soundstage. Shandling, however, made his biggest impression with Larry Sanders, a show about the trials, tribulations, and double-dealing that goes on behind the scenes of a latenight talk show. Much of the show's material was drawn from experiences Shandling endured or witnessed on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where he was a popular guest star.

In addition to performing live and on television, Shandling has also played character roles in feature films, beginning with The Night We Never Met in 1993 and continuing with such varied projects as Hurly Burly and Dr. Doolittle, both in 1998. The actor tried his hand at starring with the 2000 extra-terrestrial comedy What Planet Are You From, a box-office dud Shandling also produced and wrote.

As the decade wore on, Shandling's significant big screen roles were limited to the 2001 Warren Beatty picture Town & Country, before emerging in 2006 by lending his voice to the animated adventure Over the Hedge and appearing in a supporting part in Trust the Man. Meanwhile, on the small screen, he kept television viewers laughing as host of the 52nd and 55th Annual Prime Time Ammy Awards in 2000 and 2003 respectively. Though brief cameos in Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator followed, the one-time comedy superstar largely continued to maintain a low-profile in his later years. He died suddenly in 2016, at age 66.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography


  • Wrote scripts for Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter in the mid-1970s.
  • Starred in the innovative sitcom It's Garry Shandling's Show from 1986 to '90, in which, from time to time, he spoke directly to the camera.
  • Was offered permanent guest-hosting duties on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, but instead used his guest-hosting experiences as material for his portrayal of a talk show host on his HBO sitcom The Larry Sanders Show (1992-98).
  • Filed a lawsuit against his former manager Brad Grey in 1998 for $100 million. A settlement was reached in 1999.
  • Hosted the Emmy Awards in 2000 and '04.
  • After a long absence, he returned to the silver screen when Jon Favreau offered him a role in the action flick Iron Man 2 (2010).