Thread: sad news
10-11-2004, 02:32 AM #1
LOS ANGELES---Beloved comedian Rodney Dangerfield passed away today at 1:20pm at UCLA Medical Center following a difficult recovery from heart valve replacement surgery performed on August 25. He was 82 years old. According to his doctors, Rodney suffered a small stroke post operatively and developed infectious and abdominal complications from which he did not recover.
The Dangerfield family extends their heartfelt thanks to Rodney's team of doctors, especially Dr. Hillel Laks, Dr. Jamie Moriguchi, and Dr. David Kelly as well as all of the devoted nurses in the Cardio Thoracic Intensive Care Unit at UCLA Medical Center who provided such fastidious and compassionate care.
Following his heart surgery, Dangerfield slipped into a coma. However, over the last week, he was showing early signs of neurological improvement due to the ********** Real Time EEG Neurofeedback sessions performed by specialist Margaret Ayers. Ayers was brought in on September 26 by Dangerfield's wife, Joan.
According to Joan Dangerfield, "What Margaret was able to accomplish with Rodney was truly astounding. When Rodney emerged, he kissed me, squeezed my hand, and smiled for his doctors. To her, I will be forever grateful for giving us those moments."
On his last day, Rodney was surrounded by his family, including his children, Brian and Melanie, his father-in-law Smokey, his niece Suzie and his wife, Joan. "As we were all gathered around his bedside, one of Rodney's favorite Frank Sinatra albums was playing in the room. Rodney slipped away during the song "Come Fly With Me."
Dangerfield has bravely faced some health challenges in recent years, including abdominal aortic aneurism surgery in 1992, a double-bypass heart surgery in March of 2000 and an operation three months later to correct another aneurysm. He also suffered a mild heart attack in November of 2001 just before his birthday. In addition, UCLA's chief of neurosurgery performed a rare extracranial-intracranial brain bypass on Dangerfield in April of 2003 to increase blood flow and lessen the risk of the recent heart valve replacement.
Born Jacob Cohen on November 22, 1921 in Babylon, Long Island, NY, the King of "No Respect" and classic one-liners began his career at the age of 15 when he started writing jokes. At 17, he started performing at amateur nights under the name "Jack Roy." At 19, he had two jobs, one as a comic who couldn't make a living, and the other as a singing waiter. Rodney traveled the comedy circuit for 10 years, but reluctantly gave up showbiz for a more stable income, selling aluminum siding.
It wasn't until the age of 40 that Dangerfield made the decision to relaunch his career as a performer and comedy writer for the second time. He spent his days in a business office and his nights working in New York clubs. Determined, Rodney opened his own club, the now famous Dangerfield's on First Avenue in Manhattan. One of the first comedy clubs, Dangerfield's was a huge success and, virtually paved the way for comedy club venues across the country. Rodney introduced many of today's comedy stars to live audiences and television for the first time on his HBO Young Comedians Specials such as Tim Allen, Roseanne, Jim Carrey, Sam Kinison, Jerry Seinfeld, Louie Anderson, Jeff Foxworthy, Bob Saget, Rita Rudner, Robert Townsend, Andy Kaufman, Bob Nelson, Andrew Dice Clay, Carol Leifer, and others.
Dangerfield's feature film credits include starring in the classic hit film comedy, "Caddyshack," as well as "Easy Money," which he co-wrote, the mega-hit "Back to School," (one of the first comedy features to gross over $100 million), and Paramount's "LadyBugs." Critics also praised his realistic portrayal as the "father from hell" in Oliver Stone's "Natural Born Killers." He went on to star in several other films, including "Meet Wally Sparks," "My Five Wives," "Little Nicky," with Adam Sandler ,and "The 4th Tenor."
Besides being a Las Vegas headliner for over 20 years, Dangerfield also made countless appearances on talk and television variety shows. His first big break was on the "Ed Sullivan Show" which he did 16 times. Rodney also appeared on "This is Your Life," "What's My Line," "The Dean Martin Show," "Saturday Night Live," and a record 70 times on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson." He has also appeared a record 28 times on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," being one of the only entertainers to have an open invitation to appear on the show. He has also appeared on "LateNight w/ Conan O'Brien," "The Simpsons," "The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn," The Single Guy, "Home Improvement," among many others.
Rodney was the first entertainer to personally own a Website on the Internet, www.rodney.com. Launched in February of 1995, his state-of-the-art site has won numerous awards and distinctions as one of the most visited sites on the World Wide Web.
Prolific and active until his recent surgery, Dangerfield had made appearances on "Still Standing"(CBS), and "The Family Guy" (Fox Television). He also made a cameo appearance in the forthcoming 20th Century Fox feature, "The Onion." In addition, Rodney had also been the subject of a forthcoming documentary on his life, entitled "Rodney Exposed." He also took on the role of executive producer of the MGM remake of his blockbuster comedy, "Back to School."
Most recently, Rodney released his autobiography in June of this year, "It's Not Easy Bein' Me," A Lifetime of No Respect, but Plenty of Sex and Drugs (Harper/Collins) to rave reviews, becoming a national bestseller. Earlier this year, he had also sold the movie rights to the book. In addition, Dangerfield has recorded a special album of love songs, "Romeo Rodney," which was scheduled to be released on Valentine's Day of next year, only to surpass the famous gift of the airlifted hot tub he surprised his wife Joan with in 2003.
Dangerfield won a Grammy Award for his comedy album, "No Respect," and was the recipient of the "Lifetime Creative Achievement Award" from the 1994 American Comedy Awards and was recently honored with the "Comedy Idol Award" by Comedy Central. His famous trademark white shirt and red tie are on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Dangerfield leaves his wife Joan (married since 1993), and two children from a previous marriage, Brian and Melanie, and 2 grandchildren, Joshua and Matthew. Memorial services are currently being planned in Los Angeles and will be announced shortly.
Lyrics to Come Fly With Me:
Come fly with me, let's fly let's fly away
If you can use, some exotic booze
There's a bar in far bombay
Come fly with me, we'll fly we'll fly away
Come fly with me, let's float down to peru
In lama land, there's a one man band
And he'll toot his flute for you
Come fly with me, we'll float down in the blue
Once I get you up there, where the air is rarefied
We'll just glide, starry eyed
Once I get you up there, I'll be holding you so near
You may here, angels cheer - because were together
Weather wise it's such a lovely day
You just say the words, and we'll beat the birds
Down to acapulco bay
It's perfect, for a flying honeymoon - they say
Come fly with me, we'll fly we'll fly away
very sad news he was a great man and he will be missed
10-11-2004, 09:34 AM #2
RIP to the man..
10-11-2004, 09:41 AM #3VET
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10-12-2004, 06:30 PM #4Associate Member
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