After graduating college in Arizona, Garry Shandling moved to Los Angeles and began his show business career in 1977 as a writer for "Sanford and Son" and "Welcome Back Kotter." Within a short time, he was writing television pilots when he realized he wanted to try stand up comedy.
By 1981, Shandling made his first appearance on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" which changed the focus of his career. Shandling went on to guest host the "Tonight Show" many times. Shandling made his first cable comedy special for Showtime in 1984, and created his first television series, the critically acclaimed, "It’s Garry Shandling’s Show" for the same cable network in 1986. The unconventional series utilized the innovation of breaking the "fourth wall" to a degree never before seen on television. The show ran for four years, eventually running on Showtime and Fox simultaneously. It was also nominated for several Emmys and won many Cable Ace Awards.
In 1990, Shandling appeared in his first HBO special, "Stand-up." In 1992, Shandling created the "Larry Sanders Show" for HBO which ran until 1998 and received a record breaking 78 Emmy nominations. Shandling won the Emmy for Best Writing in a Comedy Series for the final season of the show.
Shandling hosted the 2004 Emmy Awards and received critical kudos for his funny and insightful commentary on the changes brought about on television by reality programming. He previously hosted the show in 2000. That show also received critical acclaim as well as the highest ratings in 14 years. In addition, Shandling has served as the host of the Grammy Awards a total of three times.
His voice was most recently heard in the 2006 Dreamworks animated feature, "Over the Hedge," which grossed $317 million worldwide. The film follows the adventures of a group of animals living on the outskirts of a suburban development community who are inspired to venture closer to the local homes thanks to a traveling raccoon con artist. Shandling plays a human-shy tortoise still terrified from an encounter with some boys from the neighborhood, alongside Burce Willis as the scheming raccoon.
In 2007, Shandling released a Special Edition DVD Retrospective of "The Larry Sanders Show" which included unique new footage of Garry reminiscing with former guests from the show in a raw and unedited manner, as well as a unique documentary of the Sanders experience. These special features capture the essence of "The Larry Sanders Show" and take it further in a celebration of this groundbreaking program. In October 2009, Shandling will be debuted a new DVD collector’s set featuring all four seasons’ 72 episodes from his groundbreaking first TV series. Titled "It’s Garry Shandling’s Show: The Complete Series," the set also includes a wide range of in-depth bonus content such as an inside look of the making of the show, the production process, and the show’s inspiration.
In May 2010 Shandling joined the cast of the highly anticipated "Iron Man 2" alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson released by Paramount. Shandling played the part of Senator Stern, a character who wants Stark to give Iron Man’s armor to the government.
Previously, Shandling wrote and starred in "What Planet Are You From" for Columbia Pictures. Other feature film credits include "Hurly Burly" with Sean Penn, "Love Affair" with Warren Beatty and "Trust the Man" with David Duchovny.