George Carlin Biography

George Carlin was a comedian and social satirist most noted for his views on controversial subjects. This biography of George Carlin provides detailed information about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline.

Quick Facts

Nick Name: Georgie Porgie, Curious George

Birthday: May 12, 1937

Nationality: American

Famous: Quotes By George Carlin Atheists

Died At Age: 71

Sun Sign: Taurus

Also Known As: George Denis Patrick Carlin

Born in: New York City


Spouse/Ex-: Brenda Hosbrook, Sally Wade

father: Patrick Carlin

mother: Mary Unk

siblings: Patrick Carlin Jr.

children: Kelly Carlin-McCall

Died on: June 22, 2008

place of death: Santa Monica

Personality: ENFP

City: New York City

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: Cardinal Hayes High School, Bronx

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George Carlin was a comedian well known for his black humour and opinions on controversial subjects. The performer who rose to fame during the 1970’s was a bold and outspoken individual who did not think twice before voicing his strong opinions on topics considered taboo during those times. His most famous—or notorious—performance was his outrageous comedy routine ‘Seven Dirty Words’ which played a significant role in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to regulate indecent material on the broadcast media in 1978. Known to reinvent his stage persona from time to time to cater to the changing expectations of the audiences, he had metamorphosed from the conventional comedian of his younger days into a more insightful and cynical commentator on social issues in his later years. He forayed into the field of comedy by pairing up with Jack Burns with whom he performed successfully for two years before moving on to pursue a solo career. He began performing on variety shows in television and soon became popular as a frequent performer on ‘The Tonight Show’. After starting out as a conventional comedian he began experimenting with his looks and style. He stirred up considerable controversy with his routine ‘Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television’ which not only established his fame but also made him immortal in the hearts of his fans.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1954 at the age of 17. He was trained as a radar technician and stationed at Louisiana. During this stint he was court martialed thrice. He was discharged in 1957.
  • He began performing as a part-time disc jockey while he was serving in the Air Force. After being discharged he took up a job with radio station KXOL in Texas where he met Jack Burns.
  • He teamed up with Jack Burns in 1959 and the duo performed at the coffeehouse The Cellar in Fort Worth. They moved to California in 1960 and recorded an album ‘Burns and Carlin at the Playboy Club Tonight’. The pair broke up to pursue individual careers after working together successfully for two years.
  • He soon moved on to perform on television and appeared on shows like ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ and ‘The Tonight Show’. Some of his most popular routines were ‘The Indian Sergeant’, ‘Stupid disc jockeys’ and ‘Jon Carson’.
  • In 1967, he released his debut solo album ‘Take-Offs and Put-Ons. It contained routines that were similar to the ones he had already performed on the television shows. The album earned a Grammy Award nomination.
  • His album ‘Class Clown’ was released in 1972. It featured his musings about taboo topics and included the routine ‘Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television’ which became his signature performance.
  • His ‘Seven Words’ routine caused considerable controversy and he was even arrested in 1972 for violating the obscenity law. This only added to his popularity which was now soaring high.
  • Television offers began pouring in and he hosted the premiere broadcast of ‘Saturday Night Live’ on NBC in 1975. He was also a frequent performer on the ‘Tony Orlando & Dawn’ series for the season 1976-77.
  • During this period his popularity was on an all-time high but unfortunately he began to suffer from heart problems which forced him to stay away from performing for some years.
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  • He returned to the comedy scenario during the 1980’s and released the albums ‘Carlin at Carnegie Hall’ (1982), ‘Carlin on Campus’ (1984), and ‘Playin’ with Your Head’ (1986).
  • In 1987, he was chosen to play a major supporting role in the comedy movie ‘Outrageous Fortune’ which went on to become a smash hit. He played Frank Madras in the film which also starred Shelley Long and Bette Midler.
  • He was cast as Rufus in the 1989 science fiction cum comedy film ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’. The film was a commercial success and became a cult classic. He reprised the role in the film’s sequel ‘Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey’ in 1991.
  • He acted as the U.S. narrator for the British children’s television series ‘Thomas & Friends’ from 1991 till 1995, and was cast as Mr. Conductor on a similar show ‘Shining Time Station’ from 1991 to 1993.
  • He co-created the sitcom ‘The George Carlin Show’ in 1993 with Sam Simon. He starred as taxicab driver George O’Grady in the show that premiered in January 1994 and ran for two seasons.
  • Carlin not only had heart problems, but also had a history of drug abuse and alcoholism which interfered with his career. He was active during his final years in spite of facing these challenges.
  • His final comedy album ‘It’s Bad for Ya’ was out in 2008. It was recorded just months before his death and peaked at number two on the U.S. Billboard Top Comedy Albums Chart.
Major Works
  • George Carlin was a comedian loved for his frank and outrageous commentary on controversial topics. In a career spanning over five decades, the one major work which became his signature was the ‘Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television’ routine featured on his album ‘Class Clown’.
Awards & Achievements
  • He was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Comedy Awards in 2001. This award is given to honour performers for their contribution to comedy, especially in the fields of television and films.
  • He had won five Grammy Awards including the one for his final album ‘It’s Bad For Ya’ which received the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album in 2009.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • He married Brenda Hosbrook in 1961 and had a daughter with her. Their marriage lasted till his wife’s death in 1997.
  • In 1998, he married Sally Wade. They remained married till his death.
  • He had a history of heart problems and had suffered three heart attacks. He also had troubles with alcoholism and drug abuse which further deteriorated his health. He died of heart failure at the age of 71.
  • He cited his biggest influences to be the Marx Brothers, Lenny Bruce and Danny Kaye.


Grammy Awards
2009 Best Comedy Album George Carlin... It's Bad for Ya! (2008)
2002 Best Spoken Comedy Album Winner
2001 Best Spoken Comedy Album Winner
1994 Best Spoken Comedy Album George Carlin: Jammin' in New York (1992)
1973 Best Comedy Recording Winner

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