Shandling was a comedian, an actor, producer, even a director, according to hisInternet Movie Database page, but he's best known as "Larry Sanders", the anxiety-ridden talk-show host whose hilarious foibles made entertaining fun of the talk-show genre from 1992 to 1998. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The Larry Sanders Show had modest ratings but loyal fans, and won its only Emmy for writing of its finale, by Shandling and Peter Tolan, that featured a starry lineup of cameos including Warren Beatty, Ellen DeGeneres, Carol Burnett and David Duchovny. You can listen to the Fresh Air conversation here. Shandling became a recurring guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, which led to an opportunity to develop It's Garry Shandling's Show, a "parody of a sitcom" that was one of the first successful television series on Showtime, earning the young network four Emmy nominations.
"I was asking everybody to go beyond what was TV comedy at that time", Shandling once told The Los Angeles Times.
Mr. Shandling had recently joined Jerry Seinfeld on his Web series "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" for an episode this season with the eerily foreboding title "It's Great That Gary Shandling Is Still Alive".
The Wrap reports that, after The Larry Sanders Show was removed from Crackle just a couple of months ago (the entire series had been streaming on Sony's platform earlier this year), the rights to the show reverted back to HBO.
Just one of the tragedies of Garry Shandling's death is that, as far as comedy is concerned, he was always ahead of his time. "I just don't know how to sum up someone I loved so much who taught me everything I know".
Piers Morgan wrote: "RIP Garry Shandling, 66". The style influenced a generation of comedians, including Ricky Gervais. "You get heavy. You kind of feel you want a divorce - and I'm not even married", joked Shandling.
If one were to make a list of the most influential TV series that nearly nobody watched, HBO's The Larry Sanders Show would be at the top. "He really did care about other people", O'Brien said.