Pentecostal preacher-turned-outrageous rock & roll-oriented standup comic Sam Kinison had a cult following and a promising career as one of the next comedy superstars that ended in a fatal car crash. After leaving his church, the charismatic, long-haired, and pudgy comic went wild and based his sometimes envelope-pushing monologues on his exploits with drugs, booze, women, and rock music that were punctuated by plenty of profanity and his trademark screams. At the height of his popularity, Kinison was performing with some of the biggest rock acts in late-'80s America, including Mötley Crüe and Ozzy Osbourne. When his fast-lane lifestyle began extracting heavy tolls upon his life, Kinison left the party-animal life, gave up booze and drugs, and settled down with his beautiful third wife, Malika Souiri. He appeared in one feature film, Back to School (1986), guest starred on television occasionally, notably on Saturday Night Live, was featured in cable comedy specials, and co-starred as the unruly manifestation of a yuppie's mid-life crisis in the short-lived sitcom Charlie Hoover. Shortly after the series' cancellation, Kinison was fatally injured and his wife seriously hurt in an automobile crash. It is ironic, with Kinison's efforts to clean up his personal life, that the driver of the car at fault was drunk.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- Following in his father's footstep, he became a Pentecostal minister and preached for several years before deciding to become a comedian in 1980.
- Released his debut comedy album, Louder Than Hell, in 1986.
- In 1989, he gave a benefit concert in Madison Square Garden for Lenny Bruce's mother, raising $100,000 (including $67,000 of his own).
- After his best friend's father contracted AIDS, he became involved with the T.J. Martell Foundation, helping them raise more than $500,000 to fight AIDS; he also coached a softball team to raise money to fight the disease.
- Was set to star in Atuk for United Artists, but production was canceled on the first day of shooting.
- Died in 1992 when his car was struck head-on by a pickup truck that had crossed the center lane.
- Posthumously won the 1994 Grammy award for Best Spoken Comedy Album for Live From Hell.