Rodney Dangerfield, the acid-tongued put-down comic whose chief comedic target was always himself, died Tuesday at the age of 82, according to Reuters.
Dangerfield underwent heart surgery in late August and slipped into a coma last month. He never recovered.
A naturally gifted comic who could elicit laughter as soon as his bug-eyed visage hit the screen, Dangerfield brought the put-upon everyman of his stand-up work to lasting comedic characters in 1980's "Caddyshack" and 1986's "Back to School." However, Dangerfield didn't hit the comedy big-time until late in his life. Born Jacob Cohen in Babylon, New York, he began writing jokes at the age of 15. The young Cohen later adopted the stage name Jack Roy and hit the road at age 20. Dangerfield's early comedy career fizzled, and he eventually settled into life as a family man and aluminum-siding salesman in New Jersey during the 1950s after putting his childhood dreams on the back burner.
Eventually tiring of domestic life, Jack Roy became Rodney Dangerfield and returned to the comedy circuit in the '60s. This time, the middle-aged comic found influential fans in Ed Sullivan and Johnny Carson, and Dangerfield soon became a regular on their shows. His routine — rooted in jokes about his wife, his vices and the fact that he "don't get no respect at all" — made him a comedy superstar in the '70s, thanks in large part to numerous appearances on "Saturday Night Live."
Dangerfield's career exploded in 1980 when the rubber-faced funnyman played brash new-moneyed businessman Al Czervik in "Caddyshack," a role that launched a thousand catchphrases. That same year, Dangerfield released the Grammy Award-winning comedy album No Respect, cementing his place on Hollywood's A-list. Dangerfield followed that success with the big-screen hits "Easy Money" and "Back to School," which inspired the Sum 41 video "In Too Deep" and is currently being remade with Cedric the Entertainer in Dangerfield's role.
In addition to his onscreen work, Dangerfield was beloved in the comedy world for his enthusiasm for sharing the spotlight with new talent. Dangerfield is widely credited for helping stars like Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Sam Kinison, Tim Allen and a host of others early in their careers.