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Rodney Dangerfield Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (5) | Trivia (33) | Personal Quotes (30) | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 22 November 1921Deer Park, Long Island, New York, USA
Date of Death 5 October 2004Los Angeles, California, USA  (complications from heart surgery)
Birth NameJacob Cohen
Nicknames Jack
Jackie
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Rodney Dangerfield was born in Deer Park, New York in 1921. His birth name was Jacob Cohen. Jacob Cohen began writing jokes at the age of 15, and started performing before he was 20. He took his act to the road for ten years, his stage name was "Jack Roy". While working as a struggling comedian, Rodney Dangerfield worked as a singing waiter. His first run at comedy was to no avail. Rodney Dangerfield married Joyce Indig, in 1949 and had two children: Brian and Melanie. During the 1950s, Rodney was an aluminum siding salesman, living in New Jersey. The comedian made another attempt at stand-up comedy, this time as Rodney Dangerfield. In 1961, Rodney divorced from his wife. When he appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (The Ed Sullivan Show (1948)), Rodney Dangerfield made Ed Sullivan laugh. Few people ever provoked any kind of reaction out of the legendary Ed Sullivan. Dangerfield had the image of a lovable disgruntled everyman type that became a hit all across nightclubs in the 1960s. Dangerfield also made many appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) and The Dean Martin Comedy Hour (1965) in the 1970s. Rodney Dangerfield snatched a minor supporting part in the movie, The Projectionist (1971), in 1971. By the mid 1970s, he had cemented his image as a comedian constantly tugging at his red tie, always proclaiming he gets no respect. His big break came with many appearances on Saturday Night Live (1975), bringing himself to a much wider audience and proving hysterical on many occasions. In 1980, Dangerfield became a cornerstone of American comedy with the classic Caddyshack (1980). Here, he played "Al Czervik", a rich golfer who was a basically nice guy who was extremely outspoken and very obnoxious. His character was often unhappy with the rich snobbery he was around, and he takes on the rich people that are so snobby to him. The average guy that his character portrayed was an instant hit, and a formula that Dangerfield often stuck with. Also, in 1980, Rodney came out with a popular comedy album, "Rappin Rodney". The album earned Dangerfield a Grammy for best comedy album. The next movie on Rodney's agenda was Easy Money (1983), a comedy that showed him as an insulting working class person who suddenly becomes a millionaire. The movie was also a big hit. Dangerfield became very sparse in his roles on TV and film about this time. The year 1986 saw the comedy, Back to School (1986), his biggest film to date. The comedy was one of the first to gross over 100 million. In 1994, Dangerfield starred in his first dramatic role in the successful Oliver Stone film, Natural Born Killers (1994). He played an abusive father who drove one of the killers crazy. His part was critically-acclaimed. In 1995, Dangerfield entered the world of cyberspace, becoming the first entertainer to have a website on the world-wide web. In 1997, he starred in Meet Wally Sparks (1997), a political and talk show satire which was poorly received. In 2000, Dangerfield starred as "the Devil" in Little Nicky (2000). The movie was potentially a huge hit, but was a failure by most accounts. Dangerfield took a very small part, but was top-billed in the direct-to-video The Godson (1998), and starred in the direct-to-video My 5 Wives (2000). But it has not been all smooth sailing for this comedian. In 1997, he admitted to a lifelong bout with depression and, on his 80th birthday, had a mild heart attack. He has major fans from all kinds of people from all different backgrounds. Dangerfield had made a record 70 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), and had discovered many struggling comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Roseanne Barr, Robert Townsend, Sam Kinison and Tim Allen. The comedian owned a legendary nightclub in Manhattan called "Dangerfield's". In the 1990s, he made highly-publicized appearances on The Simpsons (1989), In Living Color (1990), Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist (1995), Home Improvement (1991), Suddenly Susan (1996), among others. In 1993, he married Joan Dangerfield (aka Joan Child), a woman thirty years younger than him, and a Mormon. He died on October 5, 2004, after falling into a coma following heart surgery.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Scott <msa0510@mail.ecu.edu>

Spouse (3)

Joan Child (26 December 1993 - 5 October 2004) (his death)
Joyce Indig (1963 - 1970) (divorced)
Joyce Indig (1949 - 1962) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (5)

Famous one-liners
Self-deprecating humor
Wore white shirt and red tie on stage
Catchphrase: "I don't get no respect!"
Nervously dabbing his forehead and neck with a handkerchief

Trivia (33)

Became outspoken about his bouts with lifelong depression in 1997.
Made 70 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962).
Chosen #36 out of the 50 funniest people by Entertainment Weekly.
Premiered Meet Wally Sparks (1997) in the small town of Daingerfield, Texas. A street there was then named after him.
22 November 2001: Suffered what is being called a "mild" heart attack on his 80th birthday.
Was the first entertainer to own a Website (www.rodney.com) which was launched in February 1995.
His trademark white shirt and red tie are on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
His first big break was "The Ed Sullivan Show" (The Ed Sullivan Show (1948)) which he did 16 times.
Through his HBO shows from Dangerfield's, he introduced Jim Carrey, Roseanne Barr, Louie Anderson, Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, Rita Rudner, Sam Kinison, Robert Townsend, Bob Saget, and Jeff Foxworthy to TV.
Wanting to remain near his children, he opened the now-legendary Manhattan comedy club that bears his name.
Won a Grammy in 1980 for Best Comedy Recording for, 'No Respect'.
Was 30 years, 11 months, 3 weeks and 2 days older than his last wife, Joan Dangerfield.
He had two children by his first wife Joyce Indig: Brian and Melanie.
On April 8, 2003, Rodney had undergone arterial brain surgery to improve his body's blood flow in preparation for the heart valve replacement.
After regaining consciousness from his brain surgery, his first request was to watch The Jerry Springer Show (1991).
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 130-132. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Hit #89 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1983 with the song 'Rappin Rodney'
Published a biography in May 2004 entitled "It Ain't Easy Being Me". In it, he reveals that he was paid $35,000 to star in Caddyshack (1980), but in doing the movie, he lost $150,000 in would-be performances in Las Vegas.
Was hospitalized 24 August 2004 for heart valve-replacement surgery.
One of the great late bloomers of Hollywood. He was already near 60 when his first big movie, Caddyshack (1980), premiered in 1980.
Based his famous "I get no respect" on The Godfather (1972), since he figured that "Vito Corleone" had respect. He also based it on an experience he had at a nightclub. One night, he saw an older, low level gangster complaining about how young people gave him "no respect, no respect at all" and Dangerfield never forgot it.
As a teenager, he started in stand-up comedy and changed his name to "Jack Roy". After nine years, he quit show business. When he returned in 1962, he wanted to change his name to distance himself from his previous failure. A club owner gave him the name of "Rodney Dangerfield" after Ricky Nelson used the name in an episode of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1952). But "Jack Roy" remained his legal name for the rest of his life.
Although there was Hollywood talk that his dramatic performance in Natural Born Killers (1994) was worthy of a supporting actor Oscar nomination, Dangerfield's application for membership in the Academy was rejected.
Twice married to Joyce Indig (1949-1962, 1963-1970), Rodney suffered a lifelong battle with depression and chronic lack of self-esteem. Comedy, he says, was his fix to escape reality.
He died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles of complications following heart valve replacement surgery he had undergone on August 25, 2004. After the surgery, he slipped into a "light coma," from which he emerged briefly before his death. He is buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
His final appearance on a TV show was on a sitcom episode of Still Standing (2002), Still Standing: Still Neighbors (2004), which aired on September 27, 2004, only eight days before his death.
His 2004 autobiography, "It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs," was released posthumously.
The epitaph on his tombstone reads "There goes the neighborhood".
After he quit show business in 1949, Dangerfield became a siding salesman on Long Island. Eventually, he owned his own home improvement business, which he abandoned when he relaunched his career in the early 1960s.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 123-124. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6366 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Despite being known for playing belligerent losers, he was by all accounts a sensitive intelligent gentleman and resented being confused with his comedic persona.
In 1990, Rodney filmed a pilot for TV entitled "Where's Rodney?" that was never picked up. It was a story about a 14 year old boy who was a great fan of Rodney, who was also named Rodney. He could summon him to help with life's problems.

Personal Quotes (30)

I don't get no respect, no respect at all!
It's lonely on the top when there's no one on the bottom.
My wife was afraid of the dark, saw me naked, now she's afraid of the light!
I feel sorry for short people, you know. When it rains, they're the last to know.
I'm very lucky. Years ago they had images, like W.C. Fields, Laurel and Hardy, Groucho Marx. But today, I think I'm the only one around with an image. And that image is something everyone identified with. They all feel life treated 'em wrong and they got no respect.
My wife and I were happy for 20 years. Then we met.
[on 8/24/04, before entering a Los Angeles hospital for heart valve replacement surgery] If things go right, I'll be there about a week, and if things don't go right, I'll be there about an hour and a half.
[in a 1986 interview, explaining the origin of his "no respect" routine] I had this joke: "I played hide and seek; they wouldn't even look for me". To make it work better, you look for something to put in front of it: "I was so poor, I was so dumb", so this, so that. I thought, "Now what fits that joke?" Well, "No one liked me" was all right. But then I thought, "A more profound thing would be, 'I get no respect!' ".
I told my doctor that when I woke up in the morning I couldn't stand looking at myself in the mirror. He said, "At least we know your vision is perfect."
To give you an idea how well I was doing at the time I quit [he had given up on show business in 1949], I was the only one who knew I quit.
If it weren't for pickpockets, I'd have no sex life at all.
My dog learned how to beg by watching me through the bedroom door.
I was an ugly child. I got lost on the beach. I asked a cop if he could find my parents. He said, 'I don't know. There's lots of places for them to hide'.
Last week my house was on fire. My wife told the kids, 'Be quiet, you'll wake up Daddy'.
I was ugly, very ugly. When I was born, the doctor smacked my mother.
My mother never breast-fed me. She told me she liked me better as a friend.
At my age, making love is like trying to shoot pool with a rope.
When I get in an elevator, the operator takes one look and says, "Basement?"
Comedy is a camouflage for depression.
I found there was only one way to look thin: hang out with fat people.
I drink too much. The last time I gave a urine sample it had an olive in it.
My psychiatrist told me I was crazy, and I said I wanted a second opinion. He said, 'Okay, you're ugly too.'
I looked up my family tree and found three dogs using it.
I'm taking Viagra and drinking prune juice. I don't know if I'm coming or going.
My wife was afraid of the dark. Then she saw me naked, and now she's afraid of the light.
When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.
My cousin's gay. He went to London only to find out that Big Ben is a clock.
I could tell my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio.
What a kid I've got. I told him about the birds and the bees, and he told me about the butcher and my wife.
I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous: everyone hasn't met me yet.

Salary (1)

Caddyshack (1980) $35,000

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