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Garry Shandling dies at 66

Comedian Garry Shandling died today his spokesman confirmed. He was 66 (Publicity photo).

LOS ANGELES - Comedian Garry Shandling has died today of an apparent heart attack, his publicist has confirmed.

Born in Chicago on Nov. 29, 1949, Shandling began his career writing for sitcoms such as "Sanford and Son" and "Welcome Back, Kotter," in the mid 1970s. He made a successful stand-up performance on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" and became a frequent guest-host on the show. During this time, he becama a popular standup comedian after expressing his disaffection with sitcom writing.

Shandling was for a time considered the leading contender to replace Carson along with Joan Rivers, David Letterman and David Brenner. In 1986 he created "It's Garry Shandling's Show," for Showtime. It received four Emmy nomination which included one for Shandling himself. The show ran until 1990.

Shandling's second show, HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show," began airing in 1992 was even more popular with fans. Altogether, he was nominated for 18 Emmy Awards for the show and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 1998, with Peter Tolan, for the series finale.

Shandling was nominated for 19 Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards, along with many other awards and nominations. He served as host of the Grammy Awards four times and as host of the Emmy Awards three times.

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