HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

George Carlin Dies at 71 of Heart Failure; Comedian a Voice For Counter-Culture

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – “Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time,” comedian George Carlin once said. The iconic and award-winning figure died of heart failure on Sunday at the age of 71.

Carlin, who had a history of heart problems, went into the hospital earlier in the day and complained of chest pains. Still very active, he had just performed last weekend in Las Vegas.

Legendary comedian George Carlin
Legendary comedian George Carlin.
Photo credit: Public domain

With an extensive career in comedy for more than 50 years, it was announced just days ago that George Carlin would be 2008’s recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at The Kennedy Center in Nov. 2008.

Carlin got his big break on “The Merv Griffin Show” in the 1950s playing such memorable characters as “Al Sleet”. He would give the night’s forecast as simply: “Dark, darker, then some widely scattered light in the morning.”

Throughout the 1960s, Carlini made more than 80 appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show” as well as a recurring role on the television show “That Girl”. His first album in 1967 “Take-Offs and Put-Ons” featured Carlin’s mastery of wordplay and won him rave reviews.

Carlin felt the need to change in the 1970s. During this time, he shed his clean-cut suit and tie look and became more in touch with counter-culture by picking up the mantle left behind by Lenny Bruce. In 1972, Carlin won a Grammy for his album “FM & AM,” which featured a mix of his older humor and new, edgier style.

His seminal album from the same year “Class Clown” contained his famous “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television”. This led to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling about which words are found to be indecent for FCC broadcast during hours in which children might be listening. In 1975, he was the first person to host “Saturday Night Live”.

A voice for the counter-culture, Carlin was candid about his illicit drug use, disdain for the government and strong opposition to all forms of religion. Though typically thought of as an atheist, Carlin once described himself as a “Frisbeetarian” (when you die, your soul flies up to the roof and gets stuck).

The comedian faced some struggles in his life. Early on, Carlin was arrested on counts of obscenity. In the 1980s, he faced major tax issues as well as a heart attack and two open-heart surgeries. He also had a continuing fight with addiction and most recently checked himself into rehab in 2004 for pain-killer abuse.

Carlin continued to enjoy success as a touring comedian, actor and director throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

He authored several best-selling books including “When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?” and almost every year produced a new HBO comedy special. Carlin continued to act with memorable roles in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” “The Prince of Tides” and “Dogma” and for one season on FOX’s “The George Carlin Show”.

Carlin always spoke light-heartedly about death. In a more recent special, he joked about people’s empathy for grieving with these words: “Is there anything I can do for you? Yeah. How ‘bout you come over and paint my garage.”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Dustin Levell

By DUSTIN LEVELL
Senior Staff Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
dustin@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2008 Dustin Levell, HollywoodChicago.com

mordredd's picture

no sir i don't like it.

To those whome may identify. Like many fans out there I bow my head in a moment of silence to a great man who made a believer of a lost, frightened, child. Yeah I looked up to george for some guidance,I can admit that with some conviction folks. I don’t think there will ever be another george carlin to tell us how it is and how to get there. Thanks for the laughs Mr. Carlin we salute you. mordredd……………….

eviilgrin's picture

this sucks!!

THERE’S NOTHING MORE TO SAY BUT R.I.P. TO AN AWESOME COMEDIAN AND GREAT NO BULLSHIT TRUTH TELLER!!GEORGE WILL BE MISSED GREATLY!! :-(

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
* eight = 40
Solve this math question and enter the solution with digits. E.g. for "two plus four = ?" enter "6".

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Has anybody in show business had more “comebacks” than Cher… or if you added her many last names Cher Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman? All of the triumphs and downturns are shoehorned into “The Cher Show,” now in Chicago in a pre-Broadway run through July 15, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
referendum
tracker