October 6, 2004 by

Rodney Dangerfield


Categories: Actors, Hollywood, Writers/Editors

rdangerfield.jpgAlthough he had a talent for biting commentary, veteran comic Rodney Dangerfield was best known for his “I get no respect” shtick: “I know I’m ugly. Every time my old man wanted sex, my mother showed him my picture.”
Born Jacob Cohen, the native New Yorker made friends in school by being the class clown. At 19, he adopted the name Jack Roy and landed his first professional job in show business as a stand-up comedian. He worked at a resort in the Catskills and earned $12 a week plus room and board.
After Dangerfield wed nightclub singer Joyce Indig in 1948, he decided to settle down and take a regular job as a house painter and aluminum siding salesman. The couple moved to Englewood, N.J., and had two children, but their marriage eventually deteriorated. They divorced in 1962, remarried a year later then divorced again. He married Joan Child, a flower importer, in 1993.
Life in the suburbs didn’t sit well with Dangerfield. He missed being in the spotlight and making audiences laugh with his self-deprecating brand of humor. So at 42, he adopted the name Rodney Dangerfield and returned to stand-up. But when his first wife died, Dangerfield became a single parent. To stay closer to home, he opened the New York nightclub Dangerfield’s, where he produced comedy shows for HBO and introduced comedians like Tim Allen, Roseanne Barr, Jim Carrey, Jeff Foxworthy, Sam Kinison, Jerry Seinfeld and Rita Rudner to television audiences.
For the next two decades, Dangerfield traveled the country and headlined in Las Vegas. He also appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” 16 times and on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson more than 70 times. The comic made his film debut in the 1971 flick “The Projectionist,” but his breakthrough role was playing Al Czervik in the 1980 comedy “Caddyshack.” Dangerfield then wrote and/or starred in more than a dozen pictures, including “Easy Money,” “Back to School,” “Ladybugs,” “Little Nicky” and “The 4th Tenor.” His dramatic turn as the sadistic father in Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers” stunned audiences.
Despite his popularity and years of experience, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rejected Dangerfield’s application for membership in 1995. In response, he launched a Website and asked his fans for suggestions on how to reply to the snub. The public outcry was so great that the Academy changed its decision and offered a membership to Dangerfield. He declined.
Dangerfield’s 2004 autobiography, “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex,” has been optioned by 20th Century Fox Studios. He won a Grammy Award in 1981 for his comedy album “No Respect,” and received a Lifetime Creative Achievement Award in 1994 from the American Comedy Awards. His trademark white shirt and red tie are on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Dangerfield died on Oct. 5 from complications of heart surgery. He was 82.
No Respect Download “No Respect”

32 Responses to Rodney Dangerfield

  1. Ron Penque - DENVER

    Rodney, You Were The Best !!! Your Humor Will Make People Laugh Forever. “Son, you don’t lie to me, you lie to girls! (Back to School) REST IN PEACE YOU ARE WITH THE LORD. MAKE HIM LAUGH

  2. Jaycatt

    No movie captures the genius of Dangerfield like Caddyshack. Or are there others I’m missing?
    Caddyshack was a great forum for Rodney’s stand-up routine-like jokes. They fit the movie so well, you wouldn’t believe he was a stand-up comic.

  3. darrell williams


  4. Delia

    I am GRIEVING!!! Rodney was the funniest man who ever lived!!! Whenever I watched one of his standup appearances I had to literally sit on a pile of towels!
    I was also saddened to read about his lifetime battle with depression–he who never failed to bring me out of my own depressions with his jokes–but impressed with his courage in battling it for all those years.

  5. john doe

    Rodney was taking a flt to LGA he had a headach and asked me for an asparin I was a gate agnt at ord for AA I gave him one .He swallowed it with some water I gave him.I said to him what in the world did you do you should always chew a asparin it gets into your blood stream faster he siad he never knew that as was gratefull he had a stripped prisoner outfit on .He was a real peoples person.GOD BLESS HIM.

  6. UrbanWild

    Saw Rodnet on the Tonight Show within the past year. He was always on! Jay could barely contain himself. It was great.
    The week following his death, SNL did a skit of RD trying to get into heaven. St. Peter is asking all kinds of questions and “Rod” is answering as usual. After a few minutes of this Rod asks if he’s going to get in and St Peter answers: “Yes, but I wanted to hear those jokes one more time.”

  7. Rob

    As a 16 year old i am under use all in my way as i am a young man with an old head on my shoulds, I love all comedy, but no one will beat you!! Your name will go on! Your a hero and mine too, I do think you live up to the name of dangerfield, God bless you, All the best Rob


    HE always made my father laugh and he out lived him too!..well Thanks Rodney where ever you are and make sure when I get to heaven you finally got some new material!..

  9. Joe Miller

    Rodney I never met you but your jokes and movies always made me laugh. May you rest in peace and continue telling you ‘I dont get no respect” jokes in heaven. Make them laugh like you always made me do.

  10. David sandersen

    When my father was on his death bed we hung a poster on his wall of Rodney getting out of a swimming pool…. a promo poster for Back to School ( butt crack showing and a goofy look on Rodneys face) My Father always loved Rodney….kind of funny that my fathers last visual image before he passed was of Rodney Dangerfield’s butt crack….. I hope my Dad and Rodney are up in heaven right now having a long laugh…. Thanx Mr. Dangerfield for making my father laugh even on his death bed… ~ Peace ~

  11. John Pierce

    Rodney was probably one of the funniest comedians I have ever known. The movie Caddyshack kept me in stitches. Rodney was a natural as a comedian. Always was preceived as the everyday joe. I’ll sure miss him.

  12. Jalynn

    Hey i didnt even know he died i seen him last on the Ryan seacrest show, then at the grammys they showed all the people who died in 2004. My heart goes out to the family he will be missed.

  13. Pearce

    wow… i didn’t know he had dies until like, 30 minutes ago… i was told on a forum….
    i didn’t even see this on the news…. even in death, he got no respect.

  14. sam

    so much sadness in this world.. so much pain..
    people killing each other for no reason at all.. the best thing one can do in life is make someone smile.. rodney.. you made a lot of people smile.. given us a lot of happiness.. may god bless ur soul.. we love u rodney.. thank you for every bit of laughter u blessed me with… thank you.. god bless..

  15. timmy

    Hello, this is Timmy, first time caller, long time listener. Having trouble breathing,,,, oxygen in short supply to cranial,,,occupant. Okay, I’m not unconcious yet. Thx for making it alright to be self-loathing,,,a trait I hate about myself.

  16. Walter J. Langbein

    He was a great humorist and a gret actor…What a loss! I guess, those angels have a far better time now…having learned how to laugh at last! Thankyou to R.D.!
    Walter J. Langbein, Germany

  17. ProMe

    At 82 it’s hard to be suspect the death but society’s heart was not into “NO RESPECT” at the time…no one can replace him but we need to, considering we are in the time of “I GET NO DECENCY”.

  18. Harris

    Always look out for number one and be careful not to step in number two.
    I asked one girl if she was going to hate herself in the morning. She said, ‘I hate myself now.’
    If it weren’t for pickpockets I’d have no sex life at all.
    I met the surgeon general. He offered me a cigarette.
    I remember one date I had, we ran into some guy she knew and she introduced us. She said, ‘Steve, this is Rodney. Rodney, this is goodbye.’
    I tell ya, gambling never agreed with me. Last week I went to the track and they shot my horse with the opening gun.
    I tell ya, sex is getting harder all the time. Me and my wife were trying to have sex for hours last night and finally gave up. I asked her, “What, you can’t think of anybody either?”
    I told my kids, “Someday, you’ll have kids of your own.” One of them said, “So will you.”
    My old man didn’t help, either. One time I was kidnapped. They sent back a piece of my finger. He said he wanted more proof!
    My old man, he was dumb too. He worked in a bank. They caught him stealing pens.
    Well, just last week I was at a Chinese restaurant and when I opened my fortune cookie I found the guy’s check sitting at the next table. I said, “Hey, buddy, I got your check”, he said, “Thanks.”
    When I was little, I went into a pet shop and they asked how big I’d get.
    With me, nothing goes right. My psychiatrist said my wife and I should have sex every night. Now, we’ll never see each other!

  19. paula

    well i really liked rodney, every where we go even vagas people are chasing my husband to tell him he looks just like rodney, every state every where. my husband is handsome believe it or not an djust as funny!!!!!!!!!!! i only wished he could of met rodney!! my husband could take his place!!!

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