The estate of entertainer Garry Shandling donated $15.2 million to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the school announced Monday.
Shandling, who died in March 2016 of a blood clot, earmarked the funds to benefit three units — the division of endocrinology, diabetes and hypertension; the division of infectious diseases; and the UCLA Agi Hirshberg Center for Pancreatic Diseases — as well as general medical research, according to the school.
“His gift will establish and endow the Garry Shandling Endocrine Surgery Research Fund, the Garry Shandling Infectious Diseases Innovation Fund and the Garry Shandling Pancreatic Diseases Fund,” according to a story on the school’s website. “The remainder of the bequest will establish the Garry Shandling Medical Research Fund, which will operate under the direction of the medical school’s dean. In his honor, UCLA also has named the Garry Shandling Learning Studio, a 6,400-square-feet multipurpose space located in Geffen Hall, the school’s medical education building.”
“Innovative medical discoveries and breakthrough therapies developed at UCLA have greatly enhanced — and saved — countless lives,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “Garry Shandling’s bequest is a testament to his belief in what is possible at UCLA, and we are fortunate to have merited his support.”
Shandling underwent surgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for hyperparathyroidism, a rare condition that can cause heart attacks, and he was open about his gratitude to his doctors for the care he received.
A Chicago native, Shandling became a favorite of Johnny Carson with his appearance on “The Tonight Show,” so much so that he had repeated stints as guest host in Carson’s absence.
He gained cult fame with his off-beat Showtime comedy “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” which debuted in the mid-80s and ran for 72 episodes. The show became a hit thanks to the combination of Shandling’s deadpan wit and its tendency for characters to talk to the audience.
At the end of the show’s run, Shandling created “The Larry Sanders Show,” a behind-the-scenes take on a fictional talk show. The HBO show ran from 1992-98 and is credited with ushering in an era of experimental television comedy and influencing a generation of comedy stars including Judd Apatow, Conan O’Brien, Ricky Gervais and many others.
Shandling also wrote and starred in the 2000 film “What Planet Are You From?” He most recently appeared on screen in 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” His other credits include “Iron Man 2,” “Zoolander” and “Trust the Man.”