An edgy comic with an amazing mind and brave humor, George Carlin did more than make people laugh. The incredibly entertaining standup comedian who championed free speech became famous for uttering the “most colorful” obscenities. Hailed for his disparaging social opinions, Carlin’s meditation on the morality of rude words made him a counter-culture hero. Despite an arrest, prosecution and even a Supreme Court ruling, here’s how the Grammy-Award winning stand-up comedian, philosopher, author, and actor made legal history.
George Carlin’s Biography
A New York native, George Dennis Carlin was born in May 1937. The comedian and his older brother Patrick were raised in their hometown by their single mother, Mary Beary, who worked as a secretary at a media house. On the other hand, George Carlin’s father Patrick Carlin worked as an advertising manager with a popular print media house.
Carlin’s parents divorced thus leaving the boys with their mom. George discovered the power of comedy during his childhood and began exhibiting early comedic inclinations while studying at Cardinal Hayes High School, in the Bronx. He was a problematic child and often had run-ins with the nuns at his school, thus he was eventually expelled. Carlin also briefly attended Bishop Dubois High School.
George Carlin had a brief troubled stint in the U.S. Air Force. He joined the military as a teenager in 1954 and worked as a radar technician in Louisiana. But after getting into trouble about three times, Carlin was discharged from the US Navy in 1957. Thereafter, he landed a job with a Texan radio station and began honing his comic act. George began his comedic performances in 1959 as a duo alongside Jack Burns. The pair worked together for two years and released an album Burns and Carlin at the Playboy Club Tonight before pursuing their individual solo careers.
As a solo act, Carlin launched his debut album in 1967. But his sophomore album Class Clown which was released in 1972 became one of his major works as it featured his signature routine called Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television. The controversial routine which was a meditation on the morality of swearing made Carlin famous in the 1970s as it eventually led to his arrest, prosecution and also a Supreme Court ruling in 1978. In his long and storied career, George Carlin released 22 comedy albums, made about 130 “Tonight Show” appearances, recorded more than a dozen HBO comedy specials, hosted hundreds of variety shows, wrote three best-selling books, and won five Grammy Awards
The stand-up comedian also featured in movies and television. Some of his acting credits include a role as Frank Madras in Outrageous Fortune (1987), and two years later he landed a role as Rufus in the sci-fi Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and its 1991 sequel Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. George was also the voiceover for the hippie Volkswagen bus Fillmore in the Pixar animation Cars. On the small screen, from 1991 to 1995, Carlin also featured as a narrator for the children TV series Thomas & Friends and appeared as Mr. Conductor on the Shining Time Station show (1991 – 1993). He is the co-creator of the 1990s sitcom The George Carlin Show.
The legendary comedian who challenged both conventional American thinking and the governmental procedure was particularly famed for his black and political humor as well as his observations on several social issues ranging from religion to psychology to language, among others.
What is His Net Worth?
The Grammy Award-winning stand-up comedian had a prolific career that spanned over five decades. With stand-up gigs full of drug references and profanities, Carlin became an anti-Establishment icon in the 1970s. His numerous efforts in the entertainment industry undeniably yielded financial rewards. At death, George Carlin had a net worth that was estimated at $10 million.
Cause of George Carlin’s Death
The famous bald, bearded George Carlin had a history of heart and drug-dependency problems. In his lifetime, the stand-up comedian suffered no less than three heart attacks. Sadly, at age 71, and in 2008, Carlin died of heart failure at a Los Angeles hospital. Although his voice is missed so much, the comedian’s legacy lives on.
Facts About The Comedian
1. George Carlin was married twice in his lifetime. His first marriage was with Brenda Hosbrook. The couple tied the knot in 1961 and their union produced Carlin’s only child, Kelly. George and Brenda stayed married until Brenda’s death in 1997. The following year, the comedian married Sally Wade and their marriage lasted until George’s demise in 2008.
2. Not many are aware that George Carlin was the first person to host Saturday Night Live, but he was too high on cocaine to remember the experience.
3. George Carlin was more than a skeptic. His comedic school of thought absolved him from any allegiances or beliefs. With a central theme which opined that humanity is cursed and doomed species, Carlin did not believe in norms such as religion, a god, his country and almost all man-made institutional ideas.