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Rodney Dangerfield was a stand-up comedian and actor known for his "I don't get no respect" routine. He starred in the hit movie comedies, Caddyshack and Back to School, during the 1980s.
Rodney Dangerfield - Standup (1:57)
Friends and colleagues of Rodney Dangerfield discuss his creative process and his library of jokes.
An overview of Rodney Dangerfield's career and persona.
Oliver Stone discusses Rodney Dangerfield's appetite for food-- and sex.
An exerpt from one Rodney Dangerfield's stand-up routines.
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After Dangerfield's former wife died in the early 70s, the comedian opened the comedy club Dangerfield's in Manhattan to be closer to his children. The club was a success, and Dangerfield was generous about providing a stage for unknown comedians. Jim Carrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler,
and Roseanne Barr were among the many comics who performed at there.
Around this time, Dangerfield also began an acting career, making his debut in the film The Projectionist (1971). The movie performed poorly at the box office, and it was nine years before he returned to the big screen—this time in the comedy Caddyshack (1980), starring Chevy Chase and Bill Murray. The hit film led to starring roles for Dangerfield, including the lead in Easy Money (1983) and Back to School (1986), for which he also wrote the screenplays. In 1994, he took on his first, and only, dramatic role as an abusive father in Natural Born Killers, starring Juliette Lewis and Woody Harrelson. The performance was highly-acclaimed by critics.
Dangerfield also expanded his reach to include Broadway shows, starring in Rodney Dangerfield on Broadway!. In addition, he released a number of comedy albums such as 1981's No Respect, for which he won a Grammy.
Dangerfield, who long suffered from heart problems, underwent a double bypass surgery in 2000. In 2003, he returned to the hospital for arterial brain surgery. Despite his declining health, Dangerfield continued performing, and published his autobiography It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs in 2004.
Dangerfield's career continued to rise, and the comedian showed no signs of stopping. But after a heart valve replacement surgery in August of 2004, Dangerfield suffered a small stroke and slipped into a coma. He died from surgical complications on October 5, 2004, in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 82.
Dangerfield is survived by his second wife, Joan Child, who he married in 1993; his children, Brian and Melanie; and two grandsons.
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