George Carlin died earlier today (June 22, 2008) in Los Angeles. He was 71 years old. The truly unique and always outspoken American comedian/social commentator/actor, who had a history of heart problems, died of heart failure at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica at approx 6PM today.
Unlike so many comedians who tend to tone down their act as the years slip by or as they become more famous & widely accepted, George Carlin consistently kept his work on the edge by always being brutally honest and darkly satirical as he routinely tackled such targets as religion, culture, politics, and the hypocrisies of America.
The ever anti-establishment Carlin will probably be best remembered for "The Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV" routine of his (found on his Class Clown album) in which he tested the limits and challenged the government regulated words that dared not be uttered on television (or the radio).
In 1972 in Milwaukee at a show Carlin did this routine, uttering those seven "dirty" words from the stage, resulting in his arrest for disturbing the peace. The same routine, when played on American radio, led to the 1978 Supreme Court ruling upholding the government's authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language.
Personally, I loved everything he ever did that I got my hands on: records, books and filmed performances-- three video clips of which are included below. One is the aforementioned "The Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV" from a 1978 concert. Another is the wonderful "Modern Man" from more recent years, in which he does an inspired piece about modern technology (great for mixing over beats because of its poetic flow) and another amazing recent piece - the no-holds-barred "America Is Tyranny" in which Carlin tells it like it really is today in the messed up United States of America.
Rest in peace George Carlin. Your voice will be missed.