Anti-establishment comedian George Carlin died on June 22 in Santa Monica, CA at age 71, from heart failure. Carlin had a long history of heart problems.
Carlin was still working and touring, and had performed at The Orleans in Las Vegas, NV the weekend before he died. He was one of the few comedians who could regularly sell out theaters. Best known for his irreverent social commentary and poignant observations of the absurdities of everyday life, Carlin was a topical comedian and a favorite of HBO having taped 14 specials.
He is best remembered for “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” which still cannot be uttered on non-cable TV. He was arrested a few times on obscenity charges for uttering them in clubs a few decades back. As the fictional sportscaster Biff Barf, he would tell viewers the scores but not the teams, and as the hippy-dippy weatherman Al Sleet, he gave the forecast but not the locations. One of his famous forecasts was “the weather was dominated by a large Canadian low, which is not to be confused with a Mexican high.” His first appeared on TV in 1965 on “The Merv Griffin Show;” hosted the “Saturday Night Live” debut in 1975; and guested more than 130 times on “The Tonight Show.”
Carlin released his first comedy album, “Take-Offs and Put-Ons,” in 1967. “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” appeared on his third album, “Class Clown,” released in 1972. He recorded 23 comedy albums and won four Grammy Awards for best spoken comedy album.
He also wrote three books, including “Brain Droppings,” that was a best seller in 1997.
Carlin will be awarded the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on November 10 in Washington, DC.
Carlin, who was born in New York City in 1937, is survived by his wife, Sally Wade; daughter Kelly Carlin McCall; son-in-law, Bob McCall; brother Patrick Carlin; and sister-in-law, Marlene Carlin. His first wife, Brenda Hosbrook, died in 1997.