George Carlin

Carlin, George 1938 -- Comedian, actor, writer. Born May 12, 1937, in the Bronx, New York. Carlin and his younger brother, Pat, were primarily raised by their mother in Manhattans Morningside Heights section. Mary Carlin, a devout Irish Catholic, worked as a secretary to support her children after the death of her husband in 1940. Carlin attended parochial school and much of his negative religious sentiment stems from his experience as a Roman Catholic altar boy. Carlin completed two years of high school before dropping out. At age 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a computer mechanic and was stationed at Shreveport, Louisiana. Over the next three years, Carlin earned his high school equivalency and moonlighted as a disc jockey at a local Louisiana radio station.

In 1959, Carlin teamed up with Texas newscaster, Jack Burns. The pair collaborated on a morning radio show in Fort Worth before relocating to Hollywood, where they attracted the attention of the legendary Lenny Bruce. Bruce helped Burns and Carlin secure appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Burns and Carlin eventually split up, and over the next few years Carlin continued to make numerous appearances on The Tonight Show, as well as, The Merv Griffin Show.

In the early 1960s, Carlin got his start as a stand-up comic by performing on the Las Vegas circuit and entertaining TV audiences. Carlin enjoyed moderate success until the mid-70s when he re-invented his image and adopted a less conventional, somewhat vulgar comedy routine. Carlins scripted monologues began to represent his disillusioned attitude toward the world in which explored the highly sensitive issues of Vietnam and the right to free speech.

In July of 1972, Carlin was arrested for violating obscenity laws after his infamous routine Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television. As a self-professed atheist and avid cocaine user, his adversaries deemed him anti-religious and disrespectful of society. However, the comedians new material brought him success from the younger counterculture. Carlin illustrated his anti-establishment views by being the first host of the risque TV show Saturday Night Live.

In 1990, Carlin compiled a multi-CD set that highlighted his work from the 70s, titled George Carlin: The Little David Years (1971-77) (1990). The collection included the albums: FM & AM, Class Clown, Occupation: Foole, Toledo Window Box, An Evening With Wally Londo Featuring Slaszo, and On the Road. Carlin received two Grammy Awards for FM & AM (1990) and Jammin in New York (1992). To date, he has starred in 11 HBO specials and his latest routine, You Are All Diseased (1999), is abundant with his trademark satire and profanity about American family life.

Carlin published a best-selling book titled Brain Droppings in 1997. Two years later, syndicated columnist Mike Barnicle was suspended from the Boston Globe, after he had plagiarized passages from Carlins book. To Carlins benefit, the widely publicized controversy led to an increase in book sales.

Throughout his career, Carlin has taken on a number of comedic roles in films such as 1987s Outrageous Fortune and 1990s Bill & Teds Bogus Journey. He took a more dramatic turn in The Prince of Tides (1991). Most recently, he was featured in Kevin Smiths film Dogma (1999), in which he played Cardinal Glick, a fame-seeking religious figure.

In addition to his acting, writing and recording, Carlin continues to perform about 150 dates a year on the road. Carlin was widowed in May 1997, when his wife Brenda died of complications from liver cancer. The two were married for 34 years and had a daughter Kelly.