HBO has aired plenty of television’s greatest shows over its long history, and The Larry Sanders Show is one of them. The satire of late night comedy took home three Emmys and maintains a substantial fanbase almost two decades after its final episode. Garry Shandling, the comedian who played the eponymous character, died today at a Los Angeles hospital following a heart attack. He was 66 years old.
Known as a charming comedian with razor-sharp wit, Shandling’s most popular role cast him as the host of a fictional late night show who had to deal with putting on a show and jousting with his slick-talking co-workers. The Larry Sanders Show’s wide-ranging influence and the sadness of Shandling’s passing could be felt in the numerous tributes fellow comedians tweeted today.
Garry Shandling was as kind and generous as he was funny and that is saying a lot.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) March 24, 2016
Garry Shandling was a very special comedian with a beautifully unpredictable mind. He even voluntarily offered jokes and ideas for Oscars.
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) March 24, 2016
Goodbye Gary Shandling thank you for your kindness and your generosity and for making me laugh so damn much
— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) March 24, 2016
RIP the great Garry Shandling. Surely, one of the most influential comedians of a generation.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) March 24, 2016
The Wrap reported that right before his death, Shandling completed a deal that gave HBO the exclusive rights to The Larry Sanders Show. Cackle, Sony’s streaming company, held the rights up until two months ago. There’s been no word on if HBO plans to air a commemorative marathon, but the deal does mean HBO can host the show on its streaming services.
Shandling has held multiple gigs outside of his most famous show. It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, which predates Larry Sanders, is also acclaimed for subversive humor. He also played Senator Stern in Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Iron Man 2. He recently appeared in the latest season of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee in an episode unfortunately titled, “It’s Great That Garry Shandling Is Still Alive.”
Shandling is survived by his brother.