*I’m stunned. Here’s the obit from the New York Times.
Garry Shandling, a comedian who deftly walked a tightrope between comedic fiction and show-business reality on two cable sitcoms, died on Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 66.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles police confirmed the death but did not give a cause. TMZ, the gossip website, reported that Mr. Shandling had had a heart attack.
Mr. Shandling, who began his comedy career as a writer and went on to become one of the most successful stand-up comics of the 1980s, was best known for “The Larry Sanders Show,” a dark look at life behind the scenes of a late-night talk show. It ran on HBO from 1992 to 1998.
Mr. Shandling’s Larry Sanders was the host of a fictional show within a show, interviewing real celebrities playing themselves in segments that were virtually indistinguishable from real talk shows like “The Tonight Show.” Mr. Shandling had frequently substituted for Johnny Carson as the “Tonight Show” host. But the Sanders show was mostly concerned with what happened when the cameras were off, especially the interplay among Larry, his bumbling announcer and sidekick (Jeffrey Tambor) and his mercurial producer (Rip Torn).
“The Larry Sanders Show,” often cited as a groundbreaking precursor of shows like “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “30 Rock,” was the second show of Mr. Shandling’s to take an unorthodox approach. The first, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” seen on Showtime from 1986 to 1990, freely admitted that it was a show, with Mr. Shandling often breaking the fourth wall by speaking directly to the audience.