Skip To Content
The Schmooze

Garry Shandling’s Fellow Celebs Mourn His Sudden Death at Age 66


Funnyman Garry Shandling has died and his fans and Hollywood pals are mourning.

Shandling, 66, died of a heart attack,according to TMZ after calling 911 for help. His publicist, Alan Nierob, Shandling had no history of heart disease, “zero.”

“There’s nothing suspicious about the case, whatsoever,” Lieutenant Brian Elias of the Los Angeles County medical examiner’s office said.

Shandling, who was Jewish, was born in Chicago and raised in Tuscon, Arizona, the son of Muriel and Irving Shandling.

He was in the business for decades, starting as a writer for TV sitcoms such as “Welcome Back, Kotter” and “Sanford and Son” and doing standup comedy for the “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”

Shandling has stated that he based “The Larry Sanders Show” — his Emmy-winning HBO series — on his experiences guest-hosting for Carson. The show co-starred Jeffrey Tambor, Rip Torn, Penny Johnson, Janeane Garofalo and Jeremy Piven.

Shandling hosted the Emmys four times from 2000-2004 and hosted the Grammys five times, from 1990-1995.

He opened his first Emmy Show by poking fun at his Jewish roots.

“I auditioned to play the Vice President on ‘The West Wing,’ but they said ‘No, too Jewish’,” he joked, in reference to Joe Lieberman, who was running as vice president in 2000.

Larry Sanders, Shandling’s alter ego, might have been Jewish. In one episode, when he is asked by a reporter whether he is a member of the tribe, Artie, the Larry Sanders Show’s producer played by Rip Torn, replies: “We do not discuss Larry’s religion around here.”

His sudden passing drew a flood of tweets from his pals and fellow celebs, including Kathy Griffin and Amy Schumer.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.