Garry Shandling’s sudden passing at the age of 66 has left many in the entertainment world in shock. Fellow actors and comedians along with fans took to social media to pay tribute to the Larry Sanders Show and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show star, many noting the influential mark he made on the medium and they also shared the impact of his friendship on their lives.
“I’m crushed. That man made me laugh. Spoke to me as a peer. Even though I’ve known him since the Nineties, it’s in the last few years that we have had meaningful and memorable one-on-one talks,” Kathy Griffin said in a statement. “I had no idea our last one would be four days ago.” Griffin shared a photo taken on Sunday with Shandling and Better Call Saul actor Bob Odenkirk on Twitter.
Odenkirk also shared his thoughts on Shandling, whom he described as a “guiding voice of comedy” in a statement. “He set the standard and we’re all still trying to meet it. He gave us all opportunities to learn how to do the best work of our lives. But, more importantly, as I knew him these last few years, he was a person who never stopped trying to be a better person. That’s yet another way he inspired me and I’m sure many others who knew him.”
Judd Apatow spoke of the difficulty of addressing the passing of his friend and mentor in his statement. “Garry would see the ridiculousness of me being asked to sum up his life five minutes after being told of his passing. It is a perfect, ridiculous Larry Sanders moment. I can imagine how Hank would handle it, but I just don’t know how to sum up someone I loved so much who taught me everything I know and was always so kind to me. I am just too sad. Maybe tomorrow I will do better.”
Richard Lewis addressed the comedian’s standup and hosting chops. “Every comedy generation has a few artists who make a mark forever. Gary was surely one,” Lewis said in a statement. “His standup and Tonight Show hostings were effortlessly hilarious. His neurosis made me feel human. His first series was sensational, but the second is one for the ages. We worked together on our projects, but for me our mutual respect and laughs for our low-self esteem was magical.”
Sharon Stone spoke of Shandling as family. “It strikes me that our family, wherever we find them, and whenever we lose them, seem to disappear with the same magical wonder that they arrive. Garry, my many things, will always be my family. His openness, and joy, his brilliance and tenderness coupled with a weird self knowledge and a respect for the peculiarities of our humanity made him a wonder to me. We met through our acting teacher Roy London who ultimately became a surrogate parent to us both,” Stone said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “Roy understood immediately the astonishing talent which Garry possessed and helped him harness that into his own very powerful voice.
“Garry was unafraid almost to a point of naïveté, combined with an intelligence that was off the charts, he simply said what came to mind in the best, simplest and most hilarious of ways,” Stone continued. “Some of our best times were driving around talking about what we saw out the window. We would laugh until we were in tears and then half of it would end up on the Tonight Show. Sometimes he would tell me things through his jokes in the monologue; his way of handling his shyness. Right now, I can’t think of anything sweeter.”
Ricky Gervais noted Shandling’s impact on his own work. “Without Garry Shandling there would be no The Office or Extras. He was a huge influence on my work and a comedy hero,” Gervais said in a statement.
HBO, which aired The Larry Sanders Show, also issued a statement. “Garry ushered in the modern period of original programming at HBO with his brilliant masterpiece, The Larry Sanders Show. All of us at HBO have a special place in our hearts for him, not only for his enormous talent but for his kindness and decency. We will miss him terribly.”
Many others, including Steve Martin, Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Billy Crystal and Margaret Cho took to Twitter to pay homage to the comedian. See their tributes below.
Sunday, my longtime friend Garry Shandling was here, making every1 laugh. I loved him. I’ll miss our talks the most. pic.twitter.com/Ud8AQXNBXN
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 24, 2016
Garry Shandling was a very special comedian with a beautifully unpredictable mind. He even voluntarily offered jokes and ideas for Oscars.
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) March 24, 2016
R.I.P. Garry Shandling. I am so saddened to hear this. Brilliantly funny and such a great guy. He will be so missed.
— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) March 24, 2016
Shocked and saddened to hear about Garry Shandling’s sudden death. I was honored to get to work with him. He will be missed.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 24, 2016
Garry Shandling was one of the most brilliant people I have ever known. A shocking huge loss.
— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) March 24, 2016
Garry Shandling was as kind and generous as he was funny and that is saying a lot.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) March 24, 2016
— Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) March 24, 2016
Saddened over Garry Shandling. He was a comedy idol of mine. He leaves behind the greatest single-camera comedy of all time. #LarrySanders
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) March 24, 2016
Goodbye Gary Shandling thank you for your kindness and your generosity and for making me laugh so damn much
— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) March 24, 2016
Garry Shandling was one of my comedic heroes. His support of my writing was a huge boost. I will always be grateful for it. Shocked and sad
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) March 24, 2016