May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008
I woke up this morning to a piece of news that would shock any fan of old-school humor. George Carlin, the man who made it necessary to censor television, died last night from heart failure at the age of 71. Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, went into St. John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon complaining of chest pain and died later that evening. He had performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.
Carlin was most widely known for his “Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV” routine. When they were played on air at a NYC radio station, it resulted in the Supreme Court’s 1978 ruling that the government should be allowed to control what we hear and see.
“So my name is a footnote in American legal history, which I’m perversely kind of proud of,” he told The Associated Press earlier this year.
He produced 23 comedy albums, 14 HBO specials, three books, a couple of TV shows and appeared in several movies. Carlin hosted the first broadcast of “Saturday Night Live” and noted on his Web site that he was “loaded on cocaine all week long.”
He won four Grammy Awards, each for best spoken comedy album, and was nominated for five Emmy awards. On Tuesday, it was announced that Carlin was being awarded the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
Carlin’s first wife, Brenda, died in 1997. He is survived by wife Sally Wade; daughter Kelly Carlin McCall; son-in-law Bob McCall; brother Patrick Carlin; and sister-in-law Marlene Carlin.
George, I don’t know if they have the internet in the afterlife yet, but I’m sending this one out to you. You have inspired my unruly sense of humor since I first caugh your act as a kid. I feel privledged to have once shaken your hand and seen you perform your art live. Your filthy mouth will live on forever, my friend.