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George Carlin Dies

June 23, 2008

George Dennis Carlin, who died of heart failure Sunday at 71, will forever be remembered in the world of comedy and Hollywood.  He’s best known for his monolouges mocking religious hypocrisy, social and political humour, and those infamous seven words that can’t be said on television, which actually led to a Surpreme Court decision about broadcasting offensive language.

Apparently, George Carlin went into St. Johns Health Center in Santa Monica complaining of chest pain, according to his publicist Jon Abraham.  Just before Christmas 2005, he experienced significant shortage of breath and other heart-related symptoms. On Christmas Day he entered Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills. During an eight-day stay he was treated for a lung infection and narrowed arteries. He received antibiotics and an angioplasty that included the placement of a double stent. The procedure was successful, but he was advised to take things slowly in the New Year.   Even with this history of heart trouble, his death was unexpected as he had even performed as recently as last weekend in Las Vegas. 

He was an Irish Catholic born and raised in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City, Carlin started out as a conventional comedian and had achieved a fair degree of success.  While in the Air Force he started working as an off-base disc jockey at a radio station in Shreveport, La., and after receiving a general discharge in 1957, took an announcing job at WEZE in Boston.  He became the first host ever on Saturday Night Live in 1975.  He produced 23 comedy albums, 14 HBO specials, three books, a few TV shows and appeared in several movies, including Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.  He was even known for appearing in childrens films like Thomas The Tank and the voice of Fillmore in Pixar’s Cars.  Carlin won four Grammy Awards for best spoken comedy album and was nominated for five Emmys.  Carlin was also inducted to the Comedy Hall Of Fame in 1994.

Carlin’s way of describing death in America:

Older’ sounds a little better than ‘old,’ doesn’t it?,” he said. “Sounds like it might even last a little longer. … I’m getting old. And it’s OK. Because thanks to our fear of death in this country I won’t have to die, I’ll ‘pass away.’ Or I’ll ‘expire,’ like a magazine subscription. If it happens in the hospital they’ll call it a ‘terminal episode.’ The insurance company will refer to it as ‘negative patient care outcome.’ And if it’s the result of malpractice they’ll say it was a ‘therapeutic misadventure.

I hope to remember him through laughter rather than tears.  Here’s George Carlin On Death:


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