Comedian, Screenwriter for Jay Leno, Dennis Miller Dies – The Hollywood Reporter
Emmy Award-winning writer and comedian Kevin Rooney died on July 9 at his home in Los Angeles after a long battle with diabetes and end-stage renal failure, his wife Carole Raphaelle Davis and friend and former assistant Jay Mandyam said. The Hollywood Reporter. Rooney is 71 years old.
A veteran who worked with Jay Leno and mentored Judd Apatow among other young comics, Rooney has won two Emmy Awards, in 1994 and 1995, for writing on HBO’s Dennis Miller Live.
After making his first casual appearance in 1977 at El Brookman’s in Washington, DC, where he was spilled on the head by a beer pitcher, Rooney returned to comedy first in New York City and then in Los Angeles, where he became a regular at the Randv comedy club, where he met Leno, according to an announcement sent by Mandyam.
Rooney co-wrote Leno’s first comedy Jay Leno and the American Dream.
“He was the greatest muse a comedian had ever had,” Leno said via Mandyam. “I have a lot of material just through conversations with Kevin. The first time I saw him, I thought, ‘Oh boy, this guy is so good.’ It’s a real voice. No gimmicks. He doesn’t have a catchphrase. There is not a funny look. When times are tough, they throw catchphrases or funny looks. Kevin doesn’t have any of that. I don’t know anyone who thinks they’re better than Kevin Rooney. When Kevin gets on stage, we’ll all go inside. Me, Seinfeld, Larry Miller. At the end of the night we would all say, ‘Rooney’s story is really funny.’ We are all really happy that he has had success. He’s a guy who earned it, a unique voice. Never derivative of anyone else. It’s the classic New England satire. But there is a human behind it. Even when he said the most ironic thing. He will be remembered.”
Rooney appeared on Tonight’s show and David Letterman’s Midnight. He wrote to Wrong Politics, The Golden Palace, The Naked Truth, Boston Common, My Wife and Children, Brothers and Until death. He acted in When did Harry meet Sally.
Rooney has mentored a number of young comedians, including Judd Apatow, who retweeted Improvement’s announcement of Rooney’s deathwrote, he was “so sad to hear this news.”
“He is very funny. His materials are too clever and confusing,” Apatow wrote a part. “When I first started, he was very kind and taught me a lot about how to stand up and write. A legendary person. RIPPING OFF.”