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Legendary Actor, Comedian Garry Shandling Dead at 66

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Getty Images

Garry Shandling, the writer, comedian and actor behind The Larry Sanders Show, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and even Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, has died at the age of 66.

According to TMZ, Shandling died unexpectedly today at a Los Angeles hospital. The cause of death is still unknown, but the site reports that as of this morning, Shandling appeared healthy and was going about his normal business. A 911 call came from his home and the actor was transported to the hospital and was still alive when he arrived.

UPDATE: TMZ is now reporting that Shandling suffered a heart attack.

Shandling got his start in the early-70s when he was working as a copywriter in Los Angeles and sold a Sanford and Son script to NBC. His work on that sitcom got him jobs writing for Welcome Back, Kotter and Three’s Company, but became frustrated writing for network television and left to become a standup.

After a few years, an NBC talent scout watched Shandling perform and invited him to be a guest on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson in 1981. His act was so successful, Shandling would later act as guest host for The Tonight Show while Carson was on vacation, with his experiences the inspiration for the HBO comedy The Larry Sanders Show. That series, considered to be one of the best modern television comedies, was nominated for a total of 56 Emmy Awards and was ranked #38 on TV Guide’s Greatest TV Shows of All-Time list.

In his later years, director Jon Favreau, a fan of Shandling’s work, cast him as Senator Stern in Iron Man 2. Shandling was asked to reprise the role four years later in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where his “Hail, Hydra” whisper would become a popular meme.

Shandling was never married and has no surviving children.

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