skip navigation
George Carlin

George Carlin

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

All My Stuff ... 2007 - George Carlin celebrates his 50th anniversary in show business. Carlin's... more info $121.95was $189.98 Buy Now

The Firesign Theatre: Weirdly... Born underground in the lat 60s, the Firesign Theatre has been the vanguard of... more info $14.95was $19.95 Buy Now

Welcome Back Kotter: The... After a very impressive first semester, the Sweat hogs are back for more in... more info $18.55was $29.93 Buy Now

Bill & Ted'S Most Excellent... Bill Preston (Alex Winter) and Ted Logan (Keanu Reeves) are two totally... more info $29.95was $49.97 Buy Now

Also Known As: George Dennis Carlin Died: June 22, 2008
Born: May 12, 1937 Cause of Death: heart failure
Birth Place: Bronx, New York, USA Profession: comedian, actor, producer, writer, disc jockey, author, TV host

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

his twelfth HBO special, "Complaints and Grievances" - which was originally titled "I Like it a Lot when People Die," but was changed after the September 11th attacks. The following year, he was given the Free Speech Award at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, and re-teamed with Smith for "Jersey Girl" (2004), which gave him his biggest and most dramatic role to date as Ben Affleck's father. Sadly, the flack over Affleck's failed relationship with Jennifer Lopez overshadowed the picture's brief stint at the box office, preventing many from seeing Carlin in fine dramatic form.In 2004, Carlin made news twice: first for placing second on Comedy Central's list of the "Top 100 Comics of All Time;" second, for entering a treatment facility to cure his dependency on alcohol and painkillers. He emerged in 2005 and returned to performing, premiering his thirteenth HBO special, "Life is Worth Losing" (2005), which saw Carlin focusing on some of the darkest subject matter of his career - suicide, natural disasters and aut rotic asphyxiation. The CD earned him his seventh Grammy nomination. That same year, Carlin served as the eminence grise of "The Aristocrats" (2005), Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza's hilarious...

his twelfth HBO special, "Complaints and Grievances" - which was originally titled "I Like it a Lot when People Die," but was changed after the September 11th attacks. The following year, he was given the Free Speech Award at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, and re-teamed with Smith for "Jersey Girl" (2004), which gave him his biggest and most dramatic role to date as Ben Affleck's father. Sadly, the flack over Affleck's failed relationship with Jennifer Lopez overshadowed the picture's brief stint at the box office, preventing many from seeing Carlin in fine dramatic form.

In 2004, Carlin made news twice: first for placing second on Comedy Central's list of the "Top 100 Comics of All Time;" second, for entering a treatment facility to cure his dependency on alcohol and painkillers. He emerged in 2005 and returned to performing, premiering his thirteenth HBO special, "Life is Worth Losing" (2005), which saw Carlin focusing on some of the darkest subject matter of his career - suicide, natural disasters and aut rotic asphyxiation. The CD earned him his seventh Grammy nomination. That same year, Carlin served as the eminence grise of "The Aristocrats" (2005), Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza's hilarious documentary about a long-running and particularly vulgar joke favored by stand-ups. In 2006, Carlin launched a national tour to hone material for his latest HBO special, "It's Bad for Ya" (2008). He announced during a date that year that he had suffered heart failure sometime in late 2005 or early 2006. Despite this latest health setback, Carlin was busy with performing and acting gigs, which included lending his voice to characters in the animated features "Cars" (2006) and "Happily N'ever After" (2007).

In early 2008, Carlin starred in his fourteenth comedy special, "George Carlin: It's Bad For Ya" (HBO, 2007-08), which covered such topics as death, old age and "American bullshit." Sadly, "It's Bad For Ya" proved to be his last - on June 22, 2008, Carlin was admitted to Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, complaining of chest pains. Later that evening, Carlin died of heart failure. He was 71. Just four days before, it was announced by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., that Carlin was to be the 2008 honoree of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, an honor that would have been bestowed in November that year.ng hippie, and spoofed the private eye genre as a deceased detective whose spirit assists a young woman solve his murder in "Justin Case," a 1987 TV movie by Blake Edwards that was intended (but never saw the light) as a series pilot. He also shot a low-budget feature comedy called "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" (1989) - an unexpectedly witty pop-culture spoof in which he played the futuristic mentor to a pair of hapless California nitwits charged with saving humanity. The latter was a huge hit with younger audiences, who got their first taste of Carlin's offbeat humor through the picture.

On the comedy front, Carlin taped two more HBO specials - 1986's "Playin' with Your Head" and 1988's "What Am I Doing in New Jersey?" - both of which were also recorded as comedy albums and garnered Grammy nominations. He also received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1987 in a ceremony presided over by the dean emeritus of television comedy, Milton Berle.

Carlin kicked off the 1990s with his seventh HBO special, "Doin' It Again" (1990), which was released as an album under the title Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics, earning him another Grammy nomination. He also purchased the independent record label Little David, which had released all of his albums since 1971, renaming it Eardrum Records. In 1991 alone, he appeared in two feature films -"Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey" and "The Prince of Tides," as star and director Barbara Streisand's gay friend - and surprised many longtime fans (and parents) by replacing Ringo Starr as both the narrator of the PBS broadcast of "Thomas the Tank Engine" (ITV, 1984- ) and as Mr. Conductor, the six-inch-tall host and star of "Shining Time Station" (PBS, 1989-1993), an American spin-off of "Thomas." Carlin would remain with the series until 1993 and earn two Emmy nominations from the kid-friendly series. Again, Carlin's hectic schedule and lifestyle caught up with him during this period, and he suffered the worst of his three heart attacks while driving to Las Vegas in 1991.

Carlin bounced back with more new material, beginning in 1992 with "Jammin' in New York," his eighth HBO special and the first to be broadcast live on the network. The special won him a CableACE award, and the resulting comedy album landed him his first Grammy Award. Two years later, Carlin attempted a sitcom on the Fox network, but "The George Carlin Show" (1993-95), which featured the comic as a garrulous New York cab driver, ended after its second season - proving yet again that Carlin was best left unscripted.

Carlin gave one of his best performances as a grizzled Indian tracker and companion to Sonia Braga in "Streets of Laredo," a 1995 follow-up miniseries to the popular "Lonesome Dove" (1993). He taped his ninth and tenth HBO specials in rapid succession during the following years: 1996's "Back in Town" was also broadcast live on the network, and 1997's "George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy" featured a career retrospective of his television stand-up appearances, as well as a tribute and interview by Jon Stewart. The special won two CableACE awards and was nominated for an additional two Emmys; however, the celebration was dimmed significantly by the death of Carlin's wife that same year on the day before his 60th birthday.

Carlin bounced back from the tragedy with the release of Brain Droppings, a 1997 collection of his musings on life, society, politics and the human condition. The book spent 18 weeks on The New York Times best seller list, and the soft-cover edition (1998) beat that record by an additional two weeks. Its popularity spurred Carlin to pen two more books - Napalm and Silly Putty (2001) and When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? (2004). The former was another best seller and earned Carlin a Grammy for the audio book version, while the latter - which compiled routines from throughout his career - received press for its cover, which placed Carlin next to Jesus in Da Vinci's "The Last Supper," keeping it off the shelves at Wal-Mart. A collection of all three books, entitled An Orgy of George, which was supplemented with new material, was released in 2006.

In 1999, the comic legend joined forces with independent filmmaker and satirist Kevin Smith to explore a subject the atheist Carlin could truly get behind - the questioning of religious faith - in the feature "Dogma," in which Carlin played a Catholic cardinal who implements a more "user-friendly" version of Jesus in churches. He also taped several commercials for MCI and relocated from Los Angeles - his home for the past 23 years - to Las Vegas, where he was appearing regularly, ending a 10-year engagement at Bally's in 2000 and launching a new contract at the MGM Grand the following year. Carlin also taped his eleventh HBO special, "You Are All Diseased," which featured some of his strongest and darkest material to date - "There Is No God" was among the bits - and earned him two Emmy nods and a Grammy nomination for the CD version. That same year, Carlin's early career received a retrospective with The Little David Years (1971-77), a seven-disc set which compiled his first six solo CDs and included unreleased material, as well as six early recordings made by Carlin as a boy at a penny arcade on Coney Island.

In 2001, the 64-year-old Carlin received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 15th Annual American Comedy Awards. He also kicked off a 15-city tour to promote Napalm and Silly Putty, which saw him return to many of the major primetime talk shows, and taped p

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
3.
 Cars (2006)
4.
 Tarzan 2 (2005)
5.
 Aristocrats, The (2005) Himself
6.
 Jersey Girl (2004) Bart Trinke
7.
 Scary Movie 3 (2003) The Architect
8.
 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) Hitchhiker
9.
 Dogma (1999) Cardinal Glick
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born and raised in NYC
:
Began working as a disc jockey while serving in the US Air Force in Shreveport, Louisiana
1959:
Briefly worked at a station in Boston, MA, before moving to Fort Worth, TX and working there as a deejay
1960:
Launched his nightclub comic career working with a partner, Jack Burns; the duo recorded a live album, <i>Burns and Carlin at the Playboy Club Tonight</i> (released in 1963)
1961:
Made his debut as a solo stand-up act on "The Tonight Show" (NBC); guest hosted by Mort Sahl
:
Performed in nightclubs, folk clubs, and coffee houses
1965:
First of 29 appearances on the syndicated talk show "The Merv Griffin Show" (July)
1966:
Moved to Los Angeles
1966:
Acting debut, played a recurring role as Marlo Thomas's agent on "That Girl" (ABC)
1967:
Released first solo comedy album, <i>Take-Offs and Put-Ons</i>; earned first Grammy nomination
1967:
Made 80 major TV appearances and worked all the top nightclubs
1967:
Hosted and wrote for the CBS variety series, "Away We Go"
1968:
Made feature debut in the Doris Day vehicle "With Six You Get Eggroll"
1972:
Recorded landmark comedy albums <i>FM & AM</i> and <i>Class Clown</i>; the later included a version of his famous "Seven Dirty Words You Can Never Say on Television"
1972:
Made Carnegie Hall debut
1975:
Served as host of the first broadcast of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" (October 11)
1976:
Had role of a cab driver in the feature comedy "Car Wash"
1976:
Appeared regularly performing a stand-up routine on "Tony Orlando and Dawn" (CBS)
1977:
Appeared in his first comedy special for the HBO Network, "On Location: George Carlin at USC"
1978:
Headlined second HBO special "On Location: George Carlin at Phoenix"
1981:
Returned to comedy with the comedy album, <i>A Place for My Stuff</i>
1982:
Filmed third HBO special, "Carlin at Carnegie"
1982:
Suffered second heart attack (reportedly while watching a baseball game at Dodger Stadium)
1983:
Published first book, <i>Sometimes a Little Brain Damage Can Help</i>
1984:
Again hosted "Saturday Night Live"; also appearing in sketches
1984:
Taped fourth HBO special, "Carlin on Campus"
1985:
Headlined (and wrote) a failed pilot for HBO called "2C"
1987:
Cast as a drunken, ex-hippie tour guide in "Outrageous Fortune" opposite Bette Midler and Shelley Long
1988:
Made TV-movie debut as a ghost in "Justin Case" an installment of ABC's "Disney Sunday Movie"
1988:
Filmed the HBO special "What Am I Doing In New Jersey?"; also released as a comedy album
1989:
Cast as Rufus, the mentor of the titular characters in "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure"
1990:
Filmed seventh HBO special, "Doin¿ It Again"; also released as an album under the title <i>Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics</i>, which earned a Grammy nomination
1991:
Had a major supporting role in the film "Prince of Tides," along with Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand
1991:
Suffered the worst of his three heart attacks while driving to Las Vegas
1991:
Reprised role of Rufus in the sequel "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey"
1991:
Provided the narrative voice for the American version of the children's show "Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends" (PBS)
1991:
Replaced Ringo Starr as Mr. Conductor on the PBS children's series, "Shining Time Station"
1992:
Headlined eighth HBO special "Jammin' in New York"; first of his specials to be broadcast live on the network; received first Grammy Award for the resulting comedy album
1993:
Cast in (also executive produced and co-wrote the pilot) the FOX sitcom, "The George Carlin Show" as a NYC cab driver
1995:
Had rare dramatic TV role in the CBS miniseries "Larry McMurtry's Streets of Laredo"
1997:
Published <i>Brain Droppings</i>, Carlin's first real book
1997:
Honored at the Aspen Comedy Festival with a retrospective "George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy" hosted by Jon Stewart; the special was nominated for two Emmys
1999:
Filmed eleventh HBO special, "You Are All Diseased"; earned two Emmy nominations and a Grammy nomination for the CD version
1999:
Played a satirically marketing-oriented Roman Catholic cardinal in Kevin Smith's "Dogma"
2001:
Taped twelfth HBO special, "Complaints and Grievances"; originally titled "I Like It A Lot When People Die," but was changed after the September 11th attacks
2001:
Penned the book, <i>Napalm and Silly Putty</i>
2004:
Cast in his biggest and most dramatic role to date as Ben Affleck¿s blue collar father in Smith's "Jersey Girl"
2004:
Fired from his headlining position at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas after an altercation with his audience; soon after announced he would enter rehab for drug and alcohol addiction
2004:
Released his book, <i>When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?</i>
2005:
Premiered his thirteenth HBO special, "Life is Worth Losing"
2005:
Appeared in Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza¿s documentary "The Aristocrats," about a long-running and particularly vulgar joke favored by stand-up comedians
2006:
Provided the voice of Fillmore, a VW Microbus with a psychedelic paint job in the animated feature "Cars"
2006:
Announced, while on a national comedy tour, that he had recently recovered from heart failure
2007:
Lent his voice to the animated feature "Happily N¿ever After"
2008:
Headlined his fourteenth and final HBO special, "George Carlin: It¿s Bad For Ya"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Cardinal Hayes High School: Bronx , New York -

Notes

His official website is located at www.georgecarlin.com.

In March 2000, he launched www.laugh.com.

Carlin has admitted to developing a cocaine habit in the early 1970s.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Brenda Carlin. Producer. Married from June 3, 1961 until her death on May 11, 1997 from liver cancer.
companion:
Sally Wade. Screenwriter. Carlin has referred to her as "the sweetheart of my life, present and future".

Family close complete family listing

brother:
Patrick Carlin. Born c. 1932.
daughter:
Kelly Carlin. Born on June 15, 1963.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Sometimes A Little Brain Damage Can Help"
"Brain Droppings" Hyperion
"Napalm and Silly Putty" Hyperion
"When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?" Hyperion
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute