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Rodney Dangerfield

Rodney Dangerfield

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Also Known As: Jack Roy, Jacob Cohen Died: October 5, 2004
Born: November 22, 1921 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Long Island, New York, USA Profession: comedian, screenwriter, actor, nightclub owner, producer, singing waiter, house painter, salesman, truck driver

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Legendary comedian Rodney Dangerfield's signature line, "I don't get no respect," belied a man and a career revered by friends and fans alike. Having started in stand-up comedy prior to his friend and contemporary Lenny Bruce, Dangerfield temporarily set his dreams aside a decade later only to give it another try at the tender age of 40. After years on the New York club circuit and performances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (CBS, 1948-1971), he set up shop with a club of his own, Dangerfield's, where he further honed his act and gave dozens of future stand up stars their early break. Marquee names like Jim Carrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Roseanne Barr and Sam Kinison all owed their funny father-figure a tremendous debt of gratitude. Then, at an age when most professionals begin to contemplate retirement, Dangerfield enjoyed his breakout moment as a member of the madcap cast of the hit comedy "Caddyshack" (1980). Suddenly a superstar at the age of 60, the lovable lout went on to record hit comedy albums, appear in several of his own television specials and star in features films like "Easy Money" (1983) and "Back to School" (1986). Never shying away from edgier material, he shocked audiences with his performance...

Legendary comedian Rodney Dangerfield's signature line, "I don't get no respect," belied a man and a career revered by friends and fans alike. Having started in stand-up comedy prior to his friend and contemporary Lenny Bruce, Dangerfield temporarily set his dreams aside a decade later only to give it another try at the tender age of 40. After years on the New York club circuit and performances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (CBS, 1948-1971), he set up shop with a club of his own, Dangerfield's, where he further honed his act and gave dozens of future stand up stars their early break. Marquee names like Jim Carrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Roseanne Barr and Sam Kinison all owed their funny father-figure a tremendous debt of gratitude. Then, at an age when most professionals begin to contemplate retirement, Dangerfield enjoyed his breakout moment as a member of the madcap cast of the hit comedy "Caddyshack" (1980). Suddenly a superstar at the age of 60, the lovable lout went on to record hit comedy albums, appear in several of his own television specials and star in features films like "Easy Money" (1983) and "Back to School" (1986). Never shying away from edgier material, he shocked audiences with his performance as a vile stepfather in Oliver Stone's "Natural Born Killers" (1994). An unlikely comedic leading man, Dangerfield's downtrodden everyman proved utterly relatable to multitudes of fans, who just like him, only wanted a little respect and a good belly laugh.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Onion Movie, The (2008)
3.
 4th Tenor, The (2002) Lupo
4.
 My Five Wives (2000) Monte Petersen
5.
 My 5 Wives (2000)
6.
 Little Nicky (2000) Lucifer
7.
 Rusty: The Great Rescue (1998) Voice
8.
 Godson, The (1998)
9.
 Casper: A Spirited Beginning (1997) Mayor Johnny Hunt
10.
 Meet Wally Sparks (1997) Wally Sparks
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1936:
Began writing jokes around age 15 (date approximate)
1938:
Began appearing in amateur nights by age 17 (date approximate)
1940:
Worked as a singing waiter and comic in Brooklyn by age 19 (date approximate)
1941:
Performed standup in nightclubs under pseudonym Jack Roy
:
Married and left comedy at around age 28
:
Worked as a housepainter and aluminum siding salesman in Englewood, NJ; ran own business
:
Began showbiz comeback with a historic appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show"; made the normally stone-faced host laugh
1971:
Screen acting debut in "The Projectionist", a cult low-budget comedy feature starring Chuck McCann
1977:
Opened his own comedy nightclub, Dangerfield's, in NYC; founder and owner
1977:
TV-movie debut in pilot "Benny & Barney: Las Vegas Undercover" (NBC)
1980:
First starring vehicle, "Caddyshack"
1982:
Starred in first comedy special, "The Rodney Dangerfield Show: It's Not Easy Bein' Me" (ABC)
1983:
First screenwriting credit for "Easy Money" (also starred)
1985:
TV producing debut, executive produced "Rodney Dangerfield Hosts the 9th Annual Young Comedians Special" for HBO
1986:
Starred in hit comedy "Back to School"
1988:
Broadway debut, "Rodney Dangerfield on Broadway!" at the Mark Hellinger Theatre
1990:
Awarded $725,000 from Caesars Palace by a federal jury after his eyes were burned in a steam bath accident; awarded $225,000 for performances he missed in March 1988; awarded $500,000 for his pain and suffering
1991:
Sued by the entertainment law firm of Lavely and Singer for allegedly not paying his legal bills
1991:
Had award cut by a federal judge who ruled that he was only entitled to $50,000 for pain and suffering rather than the $500,000 awarded by the jury
1991:
Feature producing debut, the animated musical feature "Rover Dangerfield"; also provided voice-over for protagonist
1991:
Executive produced and hosted "Rodney Dangerfield's The Really Big Show" for the "HBO Comedy Hour"
1995:
Had his application for membership rejected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
1995:
Reportedly became the first entertainer to personally own his own website on the World Wide Web
1997:
Wrote and starred in the comedy "Meet Wally Sparks", about a TV talk show host
1997:
Honored with a tribute at the third US Comedy Arts Festival, held in Aspen, Colorado with HBO as the primary sponsor; a special, "Rodney Dangerfield's 75th Birthday Toast", later aired on HBO
2000:
Starred as a polygamist in "My 5 Wives"
2001:
Suffered mild heart attack on his 80th birthday
2003:
Underwent arterial brain surgery to improve his body's blood flow in preparation for an upcoming heart valve replacement
2004:
Went on tour to promote his memoirs "It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs"
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Notes

Dangerfield had his name legally changed from Jacob Cohen.

Dangerfield received the Advertising Age Award for "Star Presenter of the Year", awarded by ADVERTISING AGE magazine in 1982.

He underwent open heart surgery in March 2000.

"The most interesting thing about 'Back to School', which is otherwise a pleasant but routine comedy, is the puzzle of Rodney Dangerfield. Here is a man who reminds us of some of the great comedians of the early days of the talkies, of Groucho Marx and W C Fields, because, like them, he projects a certain mystery. Marx and Fields were never just being funny. There was the sense that they were getting even for hurts so deep that all they could do was laugh about them. It's the same with Dangerfield."---Roger Ebert, review of "Back to School", in "Roger Ebert's Video Companion: 1995 Edition" (Kansas City: Andrews and McNeel, 1994)

"He's simply one of a kind, and Dangerfield barely touches on his familiar 'I get no respect' theme. No need to, really. It's all about respect, or lack thereof, and he's found a way to transform that pain into precious and priceless humor."---From "Dangerfiled Keeps Jokes Coming in Classic Stand-Up Act" by Michael Paskevichy, THE LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL, February 14, 1997.

"I'm very lucky. Years ago they had images, like W C Fields, Laurel and Hardy, Groucho. But today I think I'm the only one around with an image. And that image is something that everyone identified with. They all feel life treated 'em wrong and they got no respect."---Rodney Dangerfield, quoted in TIME OUT NEW YORK, February 6, 1997.

"He was like a big father figure to all of us," says Roseanne, who played his wife in a 1986 HBO comedy special. "He made it his business to help young talent along, and boy, that's something. I don't know if anybody does that anymore."---Roseanne on Rodney Dangerfield, quoted to Entertainment Weekly, May 2004.

"Listen, whenever I have an operation, I always say the same thing to the doctor: 'If I don't make it, I'll never know it.' It's the best way to go out: no suffering, no pain, no nothin', right?" Everyone is quiet again. "That's how I'd like to go."---Rodney Dangerfield quoted to Entertainment Weekly, May 2004.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Joyce Indig. Singer. Deceased.
wife:
Joan Child. Florist. Born c. 1953; married on December 26, 1993; second marriage.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Brian Dangerfield. Mother Joyce Indig.
daughter:
Melanie Dangerfield. Mother Joyce Indig.

Bibliography close complete biography

"It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs" Harper Entertainment

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