Rodney Dangerfield

On this date in 1921, Rodney Dangerfield (né Jacob Cohen) was born in Babylon, N.Y. Dangerfield began performing a comedy routine when he was 17. He married singer Joyce Indig in 1949 and they had two children, Brian and Melanie. In order to support his family, Dangerfield stopped performing and became an aluminum siding salesman. After divorcing Indig in 1961, Dangerfield returned to comedy and became a highly successful stand-up comedian known for his catchphrase, “I don’t get no respect.” He founded the popular comedy club Dangerfield’s in New York City in 1969. Dangerfield performed on television shows such as "Saturday Night Live" and "The Ed Sullivan Show," as well as appearing in movies such as “Caddyshack” (1980), “Back To School” (1986) and “Natural Born Killers” (1994). He won the 1981 Grammy Award for “No Respect,” his comedy album, and was awarded the Lifetime Creative Achievement Award in 1994. Dangerfield married Joan Child in 1993.

Although Dangerfield was raised Jewish, he called himself an atheist during an interview with Howard Stern on May 25, 2004. Dangerfield added that he was a "logical" atheist. D. 2004

Photo by Jim Accordino under CC BY 3.0

“We’re apes—do apes go anyplace [when they die]?”

—Rodney Dangerfield, Howard Stern Radio Show, May 25, 2004.

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor and Bonnie Gutsch

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