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George Carlin on "The American Dream"

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Comedian George Carlin dead at 71

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Stand-up comedian George Carlin, who became famous for his biting anti-establishment brand of humor, has died in Los Angeles, his publicist confirmed Monday. He was 71.

Carlin, who had a history of heart problems and had survived three previous heart attacks, died at the Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica on Sunday at about 6:00 pm (0100 GMT) after being admitted with chest pains.

The New York-born comic was best remembered for his famous routine "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television." The routine triggered a landmark Supreme Court lawsuit that shaped decency rules for US television and radio.

Carlin, who recently marked 50 years in showbusiness and was performing in Las Vegas, made 22 albums and won four Grammy Awards.

He authored several books, performed on dozens of television shows and appeared in numerous movies.

Born in 1937, Carlin dropped out of school as a 14-year-old and later joined the US Air Force. He got his first taste of standup in the late 1950s and made his television debut on "The Merv Griffin Show" in 1965.

He performed on seminal US network shows such as the "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Tonight Show," where he regularly stood in for Johnny Carson.

But it was the edgier humor of the early 1970s and his "Dirty Words" skit that he will be best remembered for.

The routine saw him arrested for obscenity in 1972 at a comedy festival in Milwaukee and when the Pacifia radio station broadcast a version of it in 1973, the station was sued by the Federal Communications Commission.

The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled narrowly in favor of the FCC, a court order that established indecency regulation in US broadcasting.

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