Garry Shandling's Celebrity Friends Honor Him By Playing Basketball at His House
Celebrity friends of the late Garry Shandling gathered at his Los Angeles home to play a game of pickup basketball in homage to their colleague, who died suddenly last week at age 66.
The players included commentator Bill Maher, actors Jeffery Tambor and Ryan Phillippe, and comics Kathy Griffin and Sarah Silverman. The game was a memorial to the TV star and comedy writer, who held Sunday games at his home for more than a decade.
"One last game of basketball at Garry's house to say goodbye," wrote longtime friend and actor/filmaker/producer Judd Apatow on a photo of the gathering posted to Instagram.
Apatow also posted this photo of Ellen DeGeneres and Shandling, captioned "Garry and a former flame"
Tributes have poured in since Shandling died Thursday after collapsing at his home and being rushed to a Santa Monica hospital. He is believed to have suffered a massive heart attack.
Friends were shocked by his sudden death. The well-known entertainer was a basketball fanatic and worked out several times a week.
In recent years, Shandling had removed himself from the entertainment spotlight, appearing briefly in "Iron Man 2" and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and providing his voice the animated "Over the Hedge."
But it was his innovative television series from the 1980s and 1990s that brought him his greatest fame, complete with 19 Emmy nominations and two Golden Globe trophies.
"The Larry Sanders Show" was one of HBO's first original series and was acclaimed by critics for its acerbic, warts-and-all depiction of life in Hollywood.
Shandling played Larry Sanders, host of a late-night talk show in which real celebrities, ranging from Elvis Costello to Robin Williams, appeared as themselves.
Another Apatow Instagram post showed Shandling, Warren Beatty, Rip Torn and Apatow on the lot of "The Larry Sanders Show."
The show debuted in 1992 and ran until 1998, with Shandling playing the narcissicistic, anxiety-driven host. A young Apatow was a writer on the show, which received 18 Emmy nominations. Shandling and co-writer Peter Tolan won an Emmy in 1998 for the show's finale.
The program was modeled after the comedian's earlier Showtime series, "It's Garry Shandling's Show," which ran from 1985 to 1990 and featured him as the head of a television program that frequently poked fun at the artifice of celebrity and featured Shandling breaking the "fourth wall" by talking directly to the TV audience.
Shandling's comedy often targeted fame and shallowness. He also took aim at himself, highlighting anxiousness, self-doubt, hypochondria and self-absorption as prominent facets of his persona.
He started his Hollywood career as a comedy writer for 1970s sit-coms including "Welcome Back, Kotter" after a stint as a stand-up comedian. He prefered writing to standing onstage alone, he said, and his piercing wit on the page was a catalyst of his success.
"The Larry Sanders Show" has been ranked by TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly and Time magazine as one of the greatest shows in the history of television.