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Rodney Dangerfield

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Rodney Dangerfield in 1997

Rodney Dangerfield (November 22, 1921October 5, 2004), born Jacob Cohen, was an American comedian and actor, best known for the line "I don't get no respect" and his monologues on that theme.

Contents

Early life and career

He was born in Babylon, Long Island, USA, the son of vaudevillian Phil Roy (Philip Cohen). As a teenager, he got his start writing jokes for standup comics; he became one himself at 19, and struggled financially for nine years under the name Jack Roy before giving up show business to support his wife.

He returned to stand-up in the early 1960s; to give his career a fresh start, he changed his name to Rodney Dangerfield. The movie The Godfather inspired his trademark line about the lack of respect he received. Headlining performances in Las Vegas and dozens of performances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Dean Martin Show kept him in the public eye. Dangerfield made 70 appearances on The Tonight Show. Dangerfield also made an appearance on The Simpsons as Mr. Burns' son, Larry. Larry Burns was modeled after Dangerfield, including his tie tug.

Wanting to remain near his children after his divorce from their mother, he became the owner of a Manhattan nightclub in 1969; the nightclub, "Dangerfield's", was the venue for an HBO show and helped popularize many stand-up comics, including Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Tim Allen, Roseanne Barr, Jeff Foxworthy, Sam Kinison, Rita Rudner, and Bob Saget.

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Rodney Dangerfield's comedy album No Respect.

Dangerfield's career peaked during the early 1980s, with his appearance in Caddyshack and the release of his Grammy Award-winning comedy album No Respect. He played an abusive father in Natural Born Killers in a scene where he wrote his own lines.

In 1994, Dangerfield won an American Comedy Award for lifetime creative achievement. He was also recognized by the Smithsonian Institution, which put one of his trademark white shirts and red ties on display.

In 1995, his application for membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was rejected. At the time, Dangerfield commented on how then-president of AMPAS, Roddy McDowall, who acted in a monkey suit in the Planet of the Apes series of films, possibly felt that Dangerfield wasn't dignified enough to join the organization. AMPAS would later change their decision and offer membership, an offer he declined.

The confusion of Dangerfield's stage persona with his real-life personality was a conception that he long resented. Described by his wife as "classy, gentlemanly, sensitive and intelligent" [1] (http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/_/id/6054693/rodneydangerfield?pageid=rs.Artistcage&pageregion=triple3&rnd=1096316510181&has-player=true), people who met the comedian nonetheless treated him as the belligerent loser whose character he adopted in performance.

In 2004, Dangerfield's autobiography, It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs (ISBN 0066211077) was published. The book's original title was My Love Affair With Marijuana, a reference to the drug he smoked daily for sixty years.

Later years

On April 8, 2003, Dangerfield underwent brain surgery to improve blood flow in preparation for heart valve-replacement surgery on August 24, 2004. Upon entering the hospital, he uttered another one-liner of the type he was known for: responding to how long he would be hospitalized, he said, "If all goes well, about a week. If not, about an hour-and-a-half."

In September 2004, it was revealed that Dangerfield, then aged 82, had been in a coma for several weeks. Afterward, he had been breathing on his own and had been showing signs of awareness when visited by friends. However, on October 5, 2004, he died at the UCLA Medical Center, where he had undergone the surgery in August. He was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

He was married twice to Joyce Indig - from 1949 to 1962, and then from 1963 to 1970 - with whom he had a son named Brian and a daughter named Melanie. From 1993 to his death he was married to Joan Child.


Selected Filmography

TV Work

External links

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