George Carlin, the influential comedian whose routines used profanity, scatology and absurdity to point out the silliness and hypocrisy of human life, has died. He was 71.
Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, died of heart failure Sunday in Los Angeles, according to publicist Jeff Abraham. Carlin went into St. John’s Health Center on Sunday afternoon, complaining of chest pain, and died at 5:55 p.m. PT.
Carlin performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, and maintained a busy performing schedule, which included regular TV specials for HBO.
“He was a genius and I will miss him dearly,” Jack Burns, who was the other half of a comedy duo with Carlin in the early 1960s, told The Associated Press.
Carlin was often quoted, his best lines traded like baseball cards. “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” began one famous routine. Then there were the non-sequiturs: “The bigger they are, the worse they smell,” he observed. He filled three best-selling books, several record albums and countless television appearances with his material.
He appreciated the impact his words made on fans.
He will be missed greatly.