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Profile of Rodney Dangerfield

When it comes to humor, there is little doubt Rodney Dangerfield is one of the all time great comedians. So, who was he and where did he come from.

Profile of Rodney Dangerfield

Known for his classic line “I get no respect,” Rodney Dangerfield was one of the giants of comedy. He was born in Babylon, a town in Long Island, New York on November 21, 1922. Ironically, the man who got no respect was not actually named Rodney Dangerfield. His true name was Jacob Cohen.

Rodney was the son of a vaudevillian performer Phil Roy. Given his profession, dad was rarely home leaving Rodney to raise his fellow siblings. As a teenager, he got his start in comedy by writing jokes for other comedians. When he was 19, he started his own act under the name Jack Roy.

Although he started young, Rodney’s career didn’t exactly take off with a spark. He performed for nine years with little success. He once even took a job as a singing waiter, but was fired. At the age of 28, he was done. He quit comedy to sell aluminum siding to support his wife and family.

In his forties, Rodney decided to give comedy another go. He decided he needed a particular image. He took the name Rodney Dangerfield from a Ricky Nelson television show. To polish off his new image, he took inspiration from the movie The Godfather. He focused on the mobsters hang ups with respect and a legendary comedy act was born. His first respect joke was, “I get no respect. When I play hide and seek, they don’t even look for me!” Yep, the “I get no respect” bit was inspired by a mafia film.

With his image polished, Dangerfield became a legend. He would appear on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson over 70 times. He was a regular on the Ed Sullivan Show. He eventually opened his own Comedy Venue called, what else, Dangerfields. After that, headlining in Las Vegas was next and remained a steady gig for years.

In the early 80s, Rodney Dangerfield became an actor. While his acting skills were dubious, he became an icon in a little film called Caddy Shack. He also made a hilarious, if less well known, film called Back to School. Other films would follow, but none with the staying power of these two.

In early 2000, Dangerfield started suffering major problems. A life of hard living definitely started catching up with him. He had multiple surgeries on his brain and heart. In his typical fashion, he dropped a one liner before going in. When asked how long he would be hospitalized, Dangerfield said, “If it goes well, about a week. If it goes bad, about 30 minutes.” After battling his health issues, he passed away on October 5, 2004.

When the great comedians of our time are mentioned, there is little doubt Rodney Dangerfield will be at the top of the list. At last, a bit of respect.

Joseph Pare is with JokerDaily.com - providing free daily funny quotes

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