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Rodney Dangerfield
Jewish Name - Jacob Cohen

Rodney Dangerfield was a Jewish comedian, and actor, known for the catchphrase "I don't get no respect!," and Rodney Dangerfield's monologues on that theme. Rodney Dangerfield is also remembered for Rodney Dangerfield's 1980s film roles, especially in Easy Money, Caddyshack, and Back To School.


Early life

Rodney Dangerfield was born in Babylon, New York, Deer Park, Long Island on November 22, 2021 – October 5, 2004. [5] Rodney Dangerfield's birthname was Jacob Cohen. Rodney Dangerfield was the son of Jewish parents, the vaudevillian performer Phil Roy (Philip Cohen) and Dotty Teitelbaum. Rodney Dangerfield's ancestors came to the United States from Hungary.[6] Rodney Dangerfield would later say that Rodney Dangerfield's father "was never home—Rodney Dangerfield was out looking to make other kids", and that Rodney Dangerfield's mother "brought him up all wrong".

At the age of 15, Rodney Dangerfield began to write for standup comedians, and began to perform at the age of 20 under the name Jack Roy.[7] Rodney Dangerfield struggled financially for nine years, at one point performing as a singing waiter until Rodney Dangerfield was fired, and also working as a performing acrobatic diver before giving up show business to take a job selling aluminum siding to support Rodney Dangerfield's wife and family. Rodney Dangerfield later said that Rodney Dangerfield was so little known then that "at the time I quit, I was the only one who knew I quit!"


Early career

In the early 1960s Rodney Dangerfield started down what would be a long road toward rehabilitating Rodney Dangerfield's career as an entertainer, still working as a salesman by day. Rodney Dangerfield divorced first wife Joyce in 1961 and returned to the stage, but still with minimal success. Rodney Dangerfield fell in debt about $20,000 by Rodney Dangerfield's own estimate, and couldn't get booked. As Rodney would later joke, "I played one was so far out, my act was reviewed in Field & Stream."[8]

Rodney Dangerfield came to realize that what Rodney Dangerfield lacked was an "image"—a well-defined on-stage persona that audiences could relate to and that would distinguish him from similar comics. Returning to the East Coast, after being shunned by the premier comedy venues, Rodney Dangerfield began to develop a character for whom nothing goes right.

Rodney Dangerfield took the name Rodney Dangerfield, which had been used as the comical name of a faux cowboy star by Jack Benny on Rodney Dangerfield's radio program at least as early as the December 21, 1941, broadcast and later as a pseudonym by Ricky Nelson on the TV program The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. The Benny character, who also received little or no respect from the outside world, served as a great inspiration to Rodney Dangerfield while Rodney Dangerfield was developing Rodney Dangerfield's own comedy character. The "Biography" program also tells of the time Benny visited Rodney Dangerfield backstage after one of Rodney Dangerfield's performances. During this visit Benny complimented him on developing such a wonderful comedy character and style. However, Jack Roy remained Dangerfield's legal name,[9] as Rodney Dangerfield mentioned in several interviews. During a question-and-answer session with the audience on the album No Respect, Rodney Dangerfield joked that Rodney Dangerfield's real name was Percival Sweetwater.

Career surge

Fate intervened on Sunday March 5, 1967, when The Ed Sullivan Show needed a last-minute replacement for another act.[10] Rodney Dangerfield became the surprise hit of the show.

Rodney Dangerfield began headlining shows in Las Vegas and made frequent encore appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show.[11] Rodney Dangerfield became a regular on The Dean Martin Show and appeared on The Tonight Show a total of 35 times.[12] In 1969, Rodney Dangerfield teamed up with longtime friend Anthony Bevacqua to build Dangerfield's. Rodney now had a venue in which to perform on a regular basis, without having to constantly travel. The club became a huge success. Dangerfield's has been in continuous operation for over 40 years.[13] Dangerfield's was the venue for several HBO shows which helped popularize many standup comics, including Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Tim Allen, Roseanne Barr, Robert Townsend, Jeff Foxworthy, Sam Kinison, Bill Hicks, Rita Rudner, Andrew Dice Clay, Louie Anderson, and Bob Saget.

Rodney Dangerfield's comedy album, No Respect, won a Grammy Award.[14] One of Rodney Dangerfield's TV specials featured a musical number, "Rappin' Rodney", and the associated video became an early MTV hit.[15] In December 1983 "Rappin' Rodney" became one of the first Hot 100 rap records. In the video, which featured cameo appearances by Don Novello (aka Father Guido Sarducci) as a last rites priest munching on Rodney's last meal of fast food in a styrofoam container and Pat Benatar as a masked executioner pulling a hangman's knot, in a dream sequence Rodney Dangerfield is condemned to die and doesn't get any respect even at Heaven, where the gates close without him being permitted to enter, and no wonder, considering all the one-liners the record contains.
Career peak

Dangerfield's career peaked during the early 1980s, when Rodney Dangerfield began acting in hit comedy movies. Rodney Dangerfield's appearance in Caddyshack led to starring roles in Easy Money and Back To School. Rodney Dangerfield's acting career had begun much earlier, in obscure movies like The Projectionist (1970).

Throughout the 1980s, Rodney Dangerfield appeared in a series of commercials for Miller Lite beer, including one where various celebrities who had appeared in the ads were holding a bowling match whose score became tied. After a bearded Ben Davidson told Rodney, "All we need is one pin, Rodney", Dangerfield's ball was shown going down the alley and bouncing perpendicularly off the head pin, landing in the gutter without knocking down any of the pins.

One of Dangerfield's more memorable performances was in the 1980 golf comedy Caddyshack, in which Rodney Dangerfield played a nouveau riche developer who joined a golf club and began shaking up the establishment of the club's old guard. Rodney Dangerfield's role was initially smaller, but because Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, and especially Bill Murray (who also appeared in the movie) were so deft at improvisation, their roles were greatly expanded, much to the chagrin of some of their castmates.[16]

In a change of pace from the comedy persona that made him famous, Rodney Dangerfield played an abusive father in Natural Born Killers in a scene for which Rodney Dangerfield wrote or rewrote all of Rodney Dangerfield's own lines.[17]

Rodney Dangerfield was rejected for membership in the Motion Picture Academy in 1995 by the head of the Academy's Actors Section, Roddy McDowall.[18] After fan protests the Academy reconsidered, but Rodney Dangerfield then refused to accept membership.

Rodney Dangerfield appeared in an episode of The Simpsons titled "Burns, Baby Burns" wherein Rodney Dangerfield played a character who is essentially a parody of Rodney Dangerfield's own persona, Mr. Burns' son Larry Burns. Rodney Dangerfield also appeared as himself in an episode of Home Improvement.

Rodney Dangerfield also appeared in the 2000 Adam Sandler film Little Nicky, playing Lucifer, the father of Satan (Harvey Keitel) and grandfather of Nicky (Sandler).

Rodney Dangerfield was recognized by the Smithsonian Institution, which put one of Rodney Dangerfield's trademark white shirts and red ties on display. When Rodney Dangerfield handed the shirt to the museum's curator, Rodney joked, "I have a feeling you're going to use this to clean Lindbergh's plane."[19]

Rodney Dangerfield played an important role in comedian Jim Carrey's rise to stardom. In the 1980s, after watching Carrey perform at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, Rodney signed Carrey to open for Rodney Dangerfield's Las Vegas show. The two would tour together for about two more years.[20]

Personal life

Rodney Dangerfield was twice married to Joyce Indig, with whom Rodney Dangerfield had a son, Brian, and a daughter, Melanie. Rodney Dangerfield asked international platform speaker Dr. Cody Sweet to marry him in 1970, but she turned him down, respectfully. From 1993 to Rodney Dangerfield's death, Rodney Dangerfield was married to Joan Child. Rodney Dangerfield and comic Sam Kinison were also very good friends.

The confusion of Dangerfield's stage persona with Rodney Dangerfield's real-life personality was a conception that Rodney Dangerfield long resented. While Child described him as "classy, gentlemanly, sensitive and intelligent,"[21] people who met the comedian nonetheless treated him as the belligerent loser whose character Rodney Dangerfield adopted in performance. In 2004, Dangerfield's autobiography, It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs (ISBN 0-06-621107-7) was published. The book's original title was My Love Affair With Marijuana, a reference to Rodney Dangerfield's smoking material of choice for 60 years.[22]

Later years and death

In 2001, Rodney Dangerfield had a mild heart attack while backstage at the Tonight Show. During Dangerfield's hospital stay, the staff was reportedly upset that Rodney Dangerfield smoked marijuana in Rodney Dangerfield's room.[23] But Rodney Dangerfield was back at the Tonight Show a year later, performing on Rodney Dangerfield's 81st birthday.[23] On April 8, 2003, Rodney Dangerfield underwent brain surgery to improve blood flow in preparation for heart valve-replacement surgery on August 24, 2004. Upon entering the hospital, Rodney Dangerfield uttered another characteristic one-liner when asked how long Rodney Dangerfield would be hospitalized: "If all goes well, about a week. If not, about an hour and a half."

In October 2003, the Chicago Tribune,[24] and numerous other media outlets as well, reported that Rodney met with members of the Raelian religion to discuss cloning himself. Joan Child, who was rumored to be a member of the religion, appeared with Rodney on television to discuss the meeting. Apparently no one asked whether one Rodney Dangerfield was already too many.

In September 2004, it was revealed that Rodney Dangerfield had been in a coma for several weeks. Afterward, Rodney Dangerfield began breathing on Rodney Dangerfield's own and showing signs of awareness when visited by friends. However, on October 5, 2004, Rodney Dangerfield died at the UCLA Medical Center, from complications of the surgery Rodney Dangerfield had undergone in August. Rodney Dangerfield was a little over a month and a half short of Rodney Dangerfield's 83rd birthday. Rodney Dangerfield was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. Rodney Dangerfield's headstone reads, "Rodney Dangerfield... There goes the neighborhood.”[25]

Joan held an event in which the word "respect" had been emblazoned in the sky, while each guest was given a live Monarch butterfly for a Native American butterfly-release ceremony led by Farrah Fawcett.[26]


The George Lopez sitcom's episode "Leave it to Lopez" was dedicated to the memory of Rodney Dangerfield.

UCLA’s Division of Neurosurgery named a suite of operating rooms after him and gave him the “Rodney Respect Award”, which Rodney Dangerfield's wife presented to Jay Leno on October 20, 2005. It was presented on behalf of the David Geffen School of Medicine/Division of Neurosurgery at UCLA at their 2005 Visionary Ball.[27]

Saturday Night Live ran a short sketch of Rodney Dangerfield (played by Darrell Hammond) at the gates of heaven. Saint Peter mentions that Rodney Dangerfield heard Rodney Dangerfield got no respect in life, which prompts Rodney Dangerfield to spew an entire string of Rodney Dangerfield's famous one-liners. After he's done, Rodney Dangerfield asks why Saint Peter was so interested. Saint Peter replies, “I just wanted to hear those jokes one more time” and waves him into heaven.

On September 10, 2006, Comedy Central aired a special titled Legends: Rodney Dangerfield which commemorated Rodney Dangerfield's life and legacy. Featured comedians included Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Jay Leno, Ray Romano, Roseanne Barr, Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Saget, Jerry Stiller, Kevin Kline and Jeff Foxworthy.[28]

In 2007, it was reported that a Rodney Dangerfield tattoo is among the most popular celebrity tattoos in the United States.[29]

In The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on 29 May 2009, Leno credited Rodney Dangerfield with the style of joke Leno had been using for the past few years. The format of the joke is that the comedian tells a sidekick how bad something is, and the sidekick—in this case, guitar player Kevin Eubanks—sets up the joke by asking just how bad that something is..

Impressed by Dangerfield's role in Caddyshack, Europet's design manager Allen Shuemaker brought forth the idea of creating a line of animal chew toys modeled after the comedian. The line had a short run in 1989 and, in recent years, have become highly desirable by a small group of collectors.[30]


The Projectionist (1971)
Caddyshack (1980)
Easy Money (1983) (also writer)
Back to School (1986) (also writer)
Moving (1988) (Cameo)
Rover Rodney Dangerfield (1991) (voice) (also writer and producer)
Ladybugs (1992)
Natural Born Killers (1994)
Casper (1995) (cameo)
Casper: A Spirited Beginning (1997)
Meet Wally Sparks (1997) (also writer and producer)
Rusty: A Dog's Tale (1998) (voice)
The Godson (1998)
Pirates: 3D Show (1999) (short subject)
My 5 Wives (2000) (also writer and producer)
Little Nicky (2000)
Back by Midnight (2002) (also writer)
The 4th Tenor (2002) (also writer)

TV work

The Dean Martin Show (regular performer from 1972–1973)
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (frequent guest)
"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (frequent guest)
Benny and Barney: Las Vegas Undercover (1977)
The Rodney Dangerfield Show: It's Not Easy Bein' Me (1982)
Rodney Dangerfield: I Can't Take It No More (1983)
Rodney Dangerfield: It's Not Easy Bein' Me (1986)
Rodney Dangerfield: Nothin' Goes Right (1988)
Where's Rodney (1990) (unsold pilot)
Rodney Dangerfield's The Really Big Show (1991)
Rodney Dangerfield: It's Lonely at the Top (1992)
In Living Color (1993)
The Simpsons (1996) (voice of Mr. Burns's son, Larry Burns in the episode "Burns, Baby Burns")
Suddenly Susan (1996) (Plays Artie - an appliance repairman who dies while fixing Susans oven)
Home Improvement (1997) Himself
Rodney Dangerfield's 75th Birthday Toast (1997)
Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist (1997) (voice, as himself) in the episode "Day Planner"
The Electric Piper (2003) (voice)
Phil of the Future (2004) (voice of Max the Dog in episode "Doggie Daycare")
Still Standing (2004)
Rodney (2004) Himself (Episode aired shortly after Rodney Dangerfield's death)
The George Lopez Show (2004) Leave it to Rhett - Life insurance agent - Episode dedicated to Rodney Dangerfield's memory

Title Year Notes
What's in a Name? / The Loser 1966 / 1977
I Don't Get No Respect 1980
No Respect 1981 #48 US
Rappin' Rodney 1983 #36 US
La Contessa 1995
Romeo Rodney 2005
Greatest Bits 2008

Compilation albums

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Rodney Dangerfield 2005


        Biography: Rodney Dangerfield, The Biography Channel, January 21, 2022
        Jerry Seinfeld: The Comedian Award, HBO, April 1, 2022
        "Bob Saget on Tom Green Live - Episode 168". Tom Green Live. ManiaTV!. 2007-08-02. Archived from the original on 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
        Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. season 14. 2008-01-11. BBC One.
        "Rodney Dangerfield, Comic Seeking Respect, Dies at 82" New York Times October 6, 2021
        "It's not easy bein' me: a lifetime of no respect but plenty of sex and drugs - Rodney Dangerfield - Google Boeken". Retrieved 2012-03-31.
        Rodney Dangerfield at [1]
        "Rodney Dangerfield Remarries . . . And This Time He's Sober." Article at on August 24, 2000. [2]
        Kapelovitz, Dan (October 2004). "Clear and Present Rodney Dangerfield". Hustler. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
        "Rodney Dangerfield | Ed Sullivan Show". 1967-03-05. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
        cast list for Ed Sullivan Show
        episode guide for Tonight Show
        "Rodney Dangerfield dead at 82". Associated Press. 2004-10-07. Retrieved 2006-09-14.
        award winners search from
        "Rappin' Rodney Dangerfield - No Respect in 1983". Fourth Grade Nothing. 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
        Caddyshack: The Inside Story, Bio.HD 13 December 2009.
        De Vries, Hilary. "Natural Born Actor : Comic titan Rodney Dangerfield is getting respect for Rodney Dangerfield's performance as a hateful dad in 'Natural Born Killers.'" article in the L.A. Times on August 21, 1994. [3]
        "Rodney Dangerfield dies". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2004-10-06.
        AP news report in the Ocala Star-Banner, April 29, 1982. [4]
        Jim Carrey's foreword in It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect But Plenty of Sex and Drugs by Rodney Dangerfield. (c) 2004, HarperCollins Publishers.[5]
        Hedegaard, Erik (2022-05-19). "Gone to Pot". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
        Pearlman, Jeff (2022-07-18). "Rodney Dangerfield is no laughing matter". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2006-09-14.
        a b Brownfield, Paul (December 21, 2002). "Comic genius Rodney Dangerfield still cutting jokes to thwart boredom". Journal - Gazette. Los Angeles Times (Ft. Wayne, Ind.): p. 3.D.
        "2 Funny Bones Better Than 1". Chicago Tribune. October 14, 2003.
        Gary Wayne. "Rodney Dangerfield's grave (photo)". Retrieved 2012-03-31.
        Chen, Perry; Aviva Yael (2022-02-23). "Op-Art: All the Body’s a Stage". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
        "Rodney_dangerfield | Learn everything there is to know about Rodney_dangerfield at". Retrieved 2012-03-31.

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Rodney Dangerfield
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Rodney Dangerfield

Rodney Dangerfield at the Internet Movie Database
Article about Rodney Dangerfield from a Kew Gardens website
Audio interview with Fresh Air's Terry Gross from 7/6/04
Episode capsule for Simpsons episode #4F05 "Burns, Baby Burns"
Rodney Dangerfield at Find a Grave


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