Rodney Dangerfield

Infobox Comedian
name = Rodney Dangerfield

caption =
pseudonym = Rarry Dangerfield
pseudonym = Jack Roy
birth_name = Jacob Cohen
birth_date = birth date|1921|11|22|mf=y
birth_place = Babylon, New York, U.S.
death_date = death date and age|2004|10|5|1921|11|22
death_place = Los Angeles, California, U.S.
medium = Stand-up, television, film
nationality = American
active = 1940-1949; 1962-2004
genre = Character comedy, word play, black comedy
subject = Self-deprecation, depression, childhood, marriage, human sexuality, aging
influences =
influenced = Robert Klein, ["Jerry Seinfeld: The Comedian Award", HBO, April 1, 2007] Bob Saget [cite web|url=|title=Bob Saget on Tom Green Live - Episode 168|publisher=ManiaTV!|work=Tom Green Live|date=2007-08-02|accessdate=2008-06-26] Chris Rock, [cite episode|title=|series = Friday Night with Jonathan Ross|serieslink= Friday Night with Jonathan Ross|network=BBC One|airdate = 2008-01-11| season=14 | episode=1] Artie Lange, Cardell Willis
spouse = Joyce Indig (1949-1962; 1963-1970) (2 children)
Joan Child (1993-2004)
notable_work = Al Czervik in "Caddyshack"
HBO television specials
Thornton Melon in "Back to School"
Ed Wilson in "Natural Born Killers"

website = []
grammyawards= Best Comedy Recording
1981 "No Respect"
americancomedyawards=Creative Achievement Award 1995

Rodney Dangerfield (November 22, 1921October 5, 2004), born Jacob Cohen, was an American comedian and actor, best known for the catchphrase "I don't get no respect" and his monologues on that theme.

Early life and career

He was born on Long Island in the town of Babylon, the son of vaudevillian Phil Roy (Philip Cohen). He would later say that his father "was never home — he was out looking to make other kids”, and that his mother "brought him up all wrong”. As a teenager, he got his start writing jokes for standup comics; he became one himself at 19 under the name Jack Roy. He struggled financially for nine years, at one point performing as a singing waiter (he was fired), before giving up show business to take a job selling aluminum siding to support his wife and family. He later said that he was so little known then that, "At the time I quit, I was the only one who "knew" I quit!" In the early 1960s he started down what would be a long road toward rehabilitating his career, still working as a salesman by day. He came to realize that what he lacked was an "image" — a well-defined on-stage persona that audiences could relate to and that would distinguish him from similar comics. He took the name Rodney Dangerfield, which had been used as a comical name by Jack Benny on his radio program at least as early as the December 12, 1941 broadcast and later as a pseudonym by Ricky Nelson on the TV program "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet". However, Jack Roy remained his legal name, as he mentioned from time to time. [cite web|url=|title=Clear and Present Dangerfield|author=Kapelovitz, Dan|publisher="Hustler"|date=October 2004|accessdate=2007-05-21] During a question and answer session with the audience on the album "No Respect," Rodney joked that his real name is Percival Sweetwater.

Fate intervened one Sunday night in New York, when "The Ed Sullivan Show" needed a last-minute replacement for another act. This live, weekly talent show, hosted by the very influential Sullivan, could make or break a show-business career. The middle-aged, husky Dangerfield, with his pessimistic monologue, was a contrast to the younger, trendier comics usually seen on the Sullivan show, and this alone gave him a novelty value. His success was assured when he told his very first "no respect" joke: "I don't get no respect. I played hide-and-seek, and they wouldn't even look for me”. Dangerfield would also tell conventional jokes in his act: "I grew up in a tough neighborhood. Tough neighborhood! Teachers would get notes from parents saying, 'Please excuse Johnny for the next 5 to 10 years!'" Dangerfield became the surprise hit of the show. Some of Dangerfield's material wasunabashedly silly, but with his stop-watch delivery, it hardly mattered. "I used todate a girl from Buffalo," he'd announce. "Why can't I meet a girl with normal parents?"He would inform his audience, "I asked my wife 'is there somebody else?'" She said, 'thereMUST be.'" Invariably the butt of his own jokes, the disrespect began with his parentsalmost at birth, continued through schoolyard taunting by classmates, followed byfailure in the dating scene, right up to his insulting wife. Audiences didn't necessarilybelieve his material, but laughed heartily at it.

Finally established as a reliable stand-up comedian, he would write thousands more of these self-deprecating jokes. Dangerfield began headlining shows in Las Vegas and made frequent encore appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show". He became a regular on "The Dean Martin Show" and appeared on "The Tonight Show" 70 times.

He bought a Manhattan nightclub in 1969 in order to remain near his children after their mother had died. [cite web |url=|title=Rodney Dangerfield dead at 82|author=Associated Press||date=2004-10-07|accessdate=2006-09-14] "Dangerfield's" was the venue for an HBO show which helped popularize many stand-up comics, including Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Tim Allen, Roseanne Barr, Jeff Foxworthy, Sam Kinison, Rita Rudner, Andrew Dice Clay and Bob Saget.

music videos.

His career peaked during the early 1980s, when he became a movie star. His appearance in "Caddyshack" led to starring roles in "Easy Money" and "Back To School". In "Back to School", Dangerfield's writing described the character Lou (Burt Young) as "nice and tough" — he put one son through college and another through a wall. (On "The Tonight Show", he applied this same description to his doctor, Dr. Vinny Boombotz.)

He played an abusive father in "Natural Born Killers" in a scene where he wrote his own lines.

In 1994, Rodney Dangerfield won an American Comedy Award for lifetime creative achievement. He was also recognized by the Smithsonian Institution, which put one of his trademark white shirts and red ties on display. When asked about the honor, he joked that the museum was using his shirt to clean Charles Lindbergh's plane.

Personal life

He was married to Joyce Indig with whom he had a son named Brian and a daughter named Melanie. From 1993 to his death he was married to Joan Child, who was instrumental in setting up [ his Internet site] . He was also very good friends with comic Sam Kinison.

The confusion of Dangerfield's stage persona with his real-life personality was a conception that he long resented. While Child described him as "classy, gentlemanly, sensitive and intelligent," [cite web|url=|title=Gone to Pot|author=Hedegaard, Erik|publisher="Rolling Stone"|date=2004-05-19|accessdate=2007-05-21] people who met the comedian nonetheless treated him as the belligerent loser whose character he adopted in performance. In 2004, Dangerfield's autobiography, "It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs" (ISBN 0-06-621107-7) was published. The book's original title was "My Love Affair With Marijuana", a reference to the drug he smoked daily for 60 years. [cite web |url= |title=Dangerfield is no laughing matter|publisher="The San Diego Union-Tribune" |date=2004-07-18 |last=Pearlman |first=Jeff |accessdate=2006-09-14]

In 1995, his application for membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was rejected. At the time, he commented on how then-president of AMPAS, Roddy McDowall, who acted in a monkey suit in the "Planet of the Apes" series of films, possibly felt that Dangerfield was not dignified enough to join the organization. AMPAS would later offer membership, an offer he declined.

Dangerfield lived in his later years under his legal name "Jack Roy”, which he used in some of his skits, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where he raised his two children. The family owned at least one dog, which father or daughter (or both) walked regularly. Despite living inside a metropolitan city, Dangerfield was not a noticeable figure. He was said to have liked strolling to the New York Health and Racquet Club in his robe and he always had a touring bus (a rental) readily parked outside his apartment building.

Chris Rock once remarked that he was in Catch A Rising Star one night when "Rodney showed up in his "robe"“. Rock said, "He must have lived down the block" — Dangerfield's was less than a mile from home, a place he could be found most anytime he wasn't touring. Despite his stage persona, he was generally well-respected in his daily life, very private and secluded, but polite if engaged.

Later years and death

On April 8, 2003, Dangerfield underwent brain surgery to improve blood flow in preparation for heart valve-replacement surgery on August 24, 2004. Upon entering the hospital, he uttered another one-liner of the type for which he was known: When asked how long he would be hospitalized, he said, "If all goes well, about a week. If not, about an hour-and-a-half.”

In September 2004, it was revealed that Dangerfield had been in a coma for several weeks. Afterward, he began breathing on his own and showing signs of awareness when visited by friends. However, on October 5, 2004, he died at the UCLA Medical Center, where he had undergone the surgery in August. He was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. In keeping with his "No Respect" persona, his headstone reads simply, "Rodney Dangerfield - There goes the neighborhood.” [] .

Joan Child held an [ event] in which the word "Respect" had been emblazoned in the sky, while each guest was given a live Monarch butterfly for a Native American butterfly-release ceremony led by Farrah Fawcett.


UCLA's Division of Neurosurgery has named a suite of operating rooms after him and given him the "Rodney Respect Award" which his wife presented to Jay Leno on October 20, 2005, on behalf of the David Geffen School of Medicine/Division of Neurosurgery at UCLA at their 2005 Visionary Ball.

Comedy Central aired a special titled "Legends: Rodney Dangerfield" on September 10, 2006, which commemorated his life and legacy. Featured comedians included Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Jay Leno, Ray Romano, Roseanne Barr, Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Saget, Jerry Stiller, Kevin Kline and Jeff Foxworthy.

Northern Irish rock band The Dangerfields are named in tribute to him.

Impressed by Dangerfield's role in Caddyshack, Europet's design manager Allen Shuemaker brought forth the idea of creating a line of animal chew toys modeled after the comedian. The line had a short run in 1989 and, in recent years, have become highly desirable by a small group of collectors.

Cultural Effect

In 2007 it was reported that a Rodney Dangerfield tattoo is among the most popular celebrity tattoos in the United States, generally by people in their late 20s or early 30s who got the tattoo in the 1990s. [cite web|url=|title=Op-Art: All the Body’s a Stage|last=Chen|first=Perry|coauthors=Aviva Yael|publisher="The New York Times"|date=2007-02-23|accessdate=2007-05-21]

References in pop culture

*The bipedal, talking shark from Hanna-Barbara's cartoon "Jabberjaw" (voiced by Frank Welker) is the combined characters of Curly from The Three Stooges, as evident by his persona and voice; and Rodney Dangerfield, frequently using his catch phrase, "I don't get no respect”.
*In November 1996, he appeared on "The Simpsons" episode "Burns, Baby Burns" as Mr. Burns' long-lost, illegitimate son Larry. The character was modeled on Dangerfield himself, right down to his tie tug and the line, "I don't get no regard -- and no esteem, neither”.
* He had a famous falling out with former "Howard Stern Show" writer Jackie Martling over a loan Rodney made to him the in late 1970s. Jackie claimed that he paid Rodney back in jokes and that the debt was settled.
*On "The George Lopez Show" episode "George is Lie-Able For Benny's Unhappiness", George makes a comment about his friend's mother's large bra: "They're so big they still got snow on 'em in the summer time”. George's mother overhears him and George explains by saying "What!? I heard it off a guy on TV that don't get no respect", a reference to Dangerfield's catchphrase.
*On Adam Sandler's film "Little Nicky", Dangerfield plays the first devil ever, Lucifer. When Nicky's brother claims the throne, he throws Lucifer (who is Nicky's, Adrian's, and Cassius' grandfather) out of his way. While Dangerfield is lying on the ground, he says "Even in Hell I don't get no respect”.
*"Rock It Like This" by Run DMC includes the lyric "I'm not Rodney Dangerfield, so give me respect".
*In the Disney movie "Aladdin", the Genie takes on the form of Rodney when delivering the line, "I can't believe it; I'm losin' to a rug!".
*T.I. dissed Ludacris in a song with Young Buck called "Stomp." His lyrics were: "All you get is Rodney Dangerfield: no respect".
*Rodney was portrayed in "Celebrity Deathmatch", defeating Rob Schneider in one episode and Don Rickles in another.
*Rodney appeared in the Sum 41 music video for the song "In Too Deep"
*In episode 4.12 of the NBC sitcom "The Office", Michael Scott performs a Rodney Dangerfield impersonation.
*At the end of "The Onion Movie" Rodney says, "Hey everybody, we're all gonna get laid". This is a reference to the 1980 movie "Caddyshack", where Rodney's character Al Czervik says the same line.

elected filmography

*"The Projectionist" (1971)
*"Caddyshack" (1980)
*"Easy Money" (1983) (also writer)
*"Back to School" (1986) (also writer)
*"Moving" (1988) (Cameo)
*"Rover Dangerfield" (1991) (voice) (also writer and producer)
*"Ladybugs" (1992)
*"Natural Born Killers" (1994)
*"Casper" (1995) (cameo)
*"Meet Wally Sparks" (1997) (also writer and producer)
*"" (1998) (voice)
*"The Godson" (1998)
*"" (1999) (short subject)
*"My 5 Wives" (2000) (also writer and producer)
*"Little Nicky" (2000)
*"Back by Midnight" (2002) (also writer)
*"The 4th Tenor" (2002) (also writer)
*"Three 'S' a Crowd" (2005)
*"Angels with Angles" (2005)
*"The Onion Movie" (2008)

TV work

*"The Dean Martin Show" (regular performer from 1972-1973)
*"The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (frequent guest)
*"" (1977)
*"" (1982)
*"" (1986)
*"" (1988)
*"Where's Rodney" (1990) (unsold pilot)
*"Sailor moon" as Manami (1995)
*"Rodney Dangerfield's The Really Big Show" (1991)
*"" (1992)
*"In Living Color" (1993)
*"Rover Dangerfield" (1993 - Cartoon Network feature) (voice of Rover Dangerfield)
*"The Simpsons" (1996) (voice of Mr. Burns's son, Larry Burns in the episode "Burns, Baby Burns")
*"Suddenly Susan" (1996) (Plays Artie-an appliance repairman who dies while fixing Susans oven)
*"Home Improvement" (1997) Himself
*"Rodney Dangerfield's 75th Birthday Toast" (1997)
*"Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist" (1997) (voice, as himself) in the episode "Day Planner"
*"The Electric Piper" (2003) (voice)
*"Phil of the Future" (2004) (voice of Max the Dog in episode "Doggie Daycare")
*"Still Standing" (2004)
*"Rodney" (2004) Himself (Episode aired shortly after his death)
*"The George Lopez Show (2004) Leave it to Lopez - Life insurance agent - Episode dedicated to his memory


External links

*imdb name | id = 0001098 | name = Rodney Dangerfield
* [ Article about Dangerfield] from a Kew Gardens website
* [ Interview with Rolling Stone Magazine]
* [ Audio interview with Fresh Air's Terry Gross from 7/6/04]
* [ News and updates about the late Rodney Dangerfield]
* [ Episode capsule for Simpsons episode #4F05 "Burns, Baby Burns"]

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