Garry Shandling

Garry Shandling: A Biography of the Comedian’s Life

Garry Shandling was an American comedian, actor, writer, and producer who was born on November 29, 1949, in Chicago, Illinois. He was raised in Tucson, Arizona, and attended the University of Arizona, where he earned a degree in electrical engineering. However, he decided to pursue a career in comedy, and he moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s to pursue his dream.

Shandling started his career as a writer for sitcoms such as “Sanford and Son” and “Welcome Back, Kotter.” He later became a stand-up comedian and made guest appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” He created and starred in two groundbreaking shows, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” which earned him critical acclaim and a loyal fan base.

Shows and Achievements

Garry Shandling

Shandling’s first show, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” premiered on Showtime in 1986 and ran for four seasons. The show was unique in that it broke the fourth wall and acknowledged that it was a television show. Shandling played a fictionalized version of himself, and the show’s format allowed for a lot of improvisation and audience interaction.

Shandling’s second show, “The Larry Sanders Show,” premiered on HBO in 1992 and ran for six seasons. The show was a satirical look at the behind-the-scenes world of a late-night talk show. Shandling played the titular character, Larry Sanders, and the show featured a talented ensemble cast that included Jeffrey Tambor, Rip Torn, and Janeane Garofalo. “The Larry Sanders Show” was a critical and commercial success and is considered one of the greatest television shows of all time.

Near-Death Experience and Weight Gain

In 1998, Shandling had a near-death experience when he suffered a medical emergency and underwent emergency surgery. The experience had a profound impact on him, and he became more spiritual and introspective. He also gained a significant amount of weight, which he attributed to stress and emotional eating.

Shandling’s weight gain became a topic of discussion in the media, and he addressed it in his stand-up comedy. He joked about his weight and his struggles with food, but he also talked about the emotional issues that led to his weight gain. Shandling was open and honest about his struggles, and his candor helped to break down the stigma surrounding weight and body image.

Brother and Funeral

Shandling had one brother, Barry Shandling, who was a lawyer. Barry was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 1998, and Garry was by his side during his brother’s battle with the disease. Barry passed away in 2011, and Garry was devastated by the loss.

Shandling’s funeral was held on March 27, 2016, at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles. The funeral was attended by many of Shandling’s friends and colleagues in the entertainment industry, including Sarah Silverman, Kevin Nealon, and Jeffrey Tambor. The eulogy was delivered by Judd Apatow, who was a close friend and collaborator of Shandling’s.


Shandling passed away on March 24, 2016, at the age of 66. He died of a heart attack, and his death was a shock to his fans and colleagues in the entertainment industry. Shandling’s death was mourned by many, and his contributions to comedy and television were celebrated.

Shandling’s legacy lives on through his groundbreaking shows, his honest and introspective comedy, and his impact on the entertainment industry. He was a true original, and his influence can still be felt today.

Scroll to Top