Garry Shandling's Personal Life and Death — He Refused to Have Kids and Never Had a Wife

Edduin Carvajal
Jun 28, 2021
04:20 A.M.
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Late actor and stand-up comedian Garry Shandling refused to have children due to his brother's health condition. He never forgave his mother for lying about his brother, either.


The world of entertainment was shocked after learning that Garry Shandling, best known for “It's Garry Shandling's Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” died on March 24, 2016.

Almost nobody expected that the comedian would pass away, especially because he was only 66 years old. He collapsed during a phone call with 911, so paramedics had to break into his home to get to him.

Garry Shandling in an interview with Conan O'Brien posted in March 2016 after his death | Photo: YouTube/Team Coco



Shandling was taken to St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica, California, but he never got better. People eventually revealed he suffered pulmonary thrombosis (a blood clot that went from his leg to his lungs).

The autopsy also revealed Shandling had a combination of drugs in his system, including Xanax and pain killers, due to a recent dental surgery.

If that wasn’t enough, coroners found that he had an enlarged heart. For all these reasons, his death was ruled natural and accidental.


In January 2016, only a few months before his death, Garry Shandling appeared in an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” and talked about his health.

Shandling revealed he had been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism, a rare condition of the parathyroid glands. Commonly, people have four of these glands located in the neck.

They regulate the calcium level in the blood, and when there’s a problem with them, the patient’s health deteriorates until it is surgically removed. One of the things hyperparathyroidism causes is to increase the tendency to suffer heart attacks.



Several actors, comedians, and fans mourned his dead online, but he didn’t leave behind any close family members because he never had children or got married. For a while, though, he was engaged to a Playboy model.

Former actress Linda Doucett was Garry Shandling’s wife-to-be, and they even lived together between 1987 and 1994. When they parted ways, he fired her from “The Larry Sanders Show.”


Doucett was less than thrilled with his decision, so she sued him and the show’s producer for alleged sexual harassment and wrongful termination, and they settled for $1 million.

[Shandling] didn’t attend Barry’s funeral, and nobody in his family ever spoke about him again.


When Shandling died, Doucett shared some details of their time together, including that the only reason they split in 1994 was that he didn’t want to enlarge his family.

Even though Doucett, who was in her late 30s and early 40s during their relationship, wanted children, Garry Shandling was afraid his kids might be born with cystic fibrosis, the genetic problem that killed his brother Barry.



Growing up, Shandling idolized his older brother. Unfortunately, his condition caused frequent lung infections and made it hard for him to breathe properly.

Eventually, Shandling’s mom moved her family from Chicago to Arizona so that Barry could get better treatment. However, according to a book that filmmaker Judd Apatow wrote about Garry Shandling’s life, she knew Barry wouldn’t survive.

After Barry died, aged 13, his mom lied to 10-year-old Shandling by telling him that his brother had gone to live with their grandmother. The young comedian didn’t attend Barry’s funeral, and nobody in his family ever spoke about him again.


Shandling’s animosity toward his mom became evident when his friend Gavin de Becker met her for the first time and described her as a “monster.” Shandling replied, “well, you are seeing her on her best behavior.”

Although it’s been five years since Garry Shandling died, his fans and friends, including writer Ed Solomon, still remember him. Rest in peace, legend.


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