Comic bad boy George Carlin died Sunday from heart failure. After several heart attacks and a long history of cardiac issues, the man who so poignantly made famous the "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" checked into Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica early Sunday, complaining of chest pains. He died a short time later.
Carlin has published more than 20 comedy albums and been a part of not only more than a dozen HBO specials, but countless TV and movie roles, as well as penning three best-selling books. Last year, he celebrated his 50th year in show business, and in March of this year he finished his last HBO special, "It’s Bad for Ya."
Carlin, who was considered to be the heir to Lenny Bruce’s foul-mouthed wit, was best known for his vulgariffic "Seven Words" routine, which appeared on 1972′s Class Clown album. He made headlines in 1972 when he was arrested for disturbing the peace after uttering all seven of the forbidden words. A landmark indecency case resulted, after radio station WBAI-FM aired the comedy sketch in its entirety the following year. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where justices ruled that the sketch was "indecent but not obscene." The decision opened the floodgates of regulatory power for the FCC giving them broad leeway to determine the parameters of indecency on the airwaves.
"My name is a footnote in American legal history, which I’m perversely kind of proud of," Carlin said. "In the context of that era, it was daring."
"It just sounds like a very self-serving kind of word. I don’t want to go around describing myself as a ‘groundbreaker’ or a ‘difference-maker’ because I’m not and I wasn’t," he said. "But I contributed to people who were saying things that weren’t supposed to be said."
Carlin was also host of the first-ever broadcast of "Saturday Night Live" in October 1975. In addition to his HBO specials, kid show appearances ("Shining Time Station") and best-seller books, Carlin also found the time to be a regular on "The Tonight Show".
Watch Carlin’s famous "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" routine:
Before you go praying for the old man’s soul, though, you might want to check this out