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LAPD: Comedian, actor Garry Shandling dead at 66 after medical emergency

Shandling was the star of HBO's The Larry Sanders Show between 1992 and 1998, in which he portrayed the titular character, a fictional late night talk show host.
By Doug G. Ware   |   March 24, 2016 at 5:28 PM
| License Photo

LOS ANGELES, March 24 (UPI) -- Comedic actor Garry Shandling has died, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed Thursday. He was 66.

No details were immediately revealed about the comedian's death, but authorities reportedly said it followed a medical emergency.

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Shandling rose to fame during his situation comedy It's Garry Shandling's Show, which aired on premium cable network Showtime from 1986 to 1990. Two years later, he became a household name with the popularity of The Larry Sanders Show on HBO, which continued until 1998 -- a pseudo docu-comedy that covered the exploits of fictional late night talk show host Larry Sanders, played by Shandling.

The Emmy Award-winning comedian began his career in the mid-1970s writing for sitcoms Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter. He also guest-hosted The Tonight Show several times when Johnny Carson was on vacation.

Shandling made numerous appearances in film, as well, including Doctor Dolittle, Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014.

Exactly how or where Shandling died was not immediately known, but The Hollywood Reporter cited a LAPD representative in confirming his death.

Guest star Garry Shandling (right) appears with actor David Duchovny in an episode of "The X-Files" in 2000. File photo by UPI

Variety reported that police received a 911 call Thursday citing a medical emergency at his West Los Angeles home. Officials reportedly said Shandling died later at a Los Angeles hospital.

"RIP the great Garry Shandling. Surely, one of the most influential comedians of a generation," fellow comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted.

"Garry Shandling was as kind and generous as he was funny and that is saying a lot," ABC late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel said in a similar tweet Thursday afternoon.

Born in Chicago and raised in Arizona, Shandling, who moved to California during the 1970s to get into the entertainment industry, was nearly killed in a serious car accident in 1977.

"I had a vivid near-death experience that involved a voice asking, 'Do you want to continue leading Garry Shandling's life?'" he later wrote. "Without thinking, I said, 'Yes.' Since then, I've been stuck living in the physical world while knowing, without a doubt, that there's something much more meaningful within it all. That realization is what drives my life and work."

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