George Carlin, the groundbreaking social satirist whose “Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say On Television” bit sparked a court case that lead all the way to the Supreme Court and a national discussion on indecency and censorship, has passed away last night in Los Angeles. He was 71.
Primarily a stage comic, Carlin would take an occasional screen role, but a film career was something he never actively pursued with any vigor. He made his film debut in 1968’s With Six You Get Eggroll, but didn’t take another film role until 1976’s hit comedy Car Wash.
Carlin’s most popular screen role is probably that of Rufus in 1989’s Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure and its 1991 sequel Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey. As the time travelling mentor to a pair of flakey would-be rock stars, he epitomized the futuristic cool society that their music would ultimately create.
He also appeared in three films by Kevin Smith. As Cardinal Glick in 1999’s Dogma, Carlin portrayed a Catholic clergyman with some rather offbeat ideas about modernizing the Church. For 2001’s Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, he cameoed briefly as a hitchhiker who gives the titular duo some unorthodox advice about hitching a lift. In 2004’s Jersey Girl, he was a tough, but understanding, father to single parent Ben Affleck.
Carlin also appeared in the 1987’s Outrageous Fortune and 2003’s Scary Movie 3. For 1991’s The Prince Of Tides, he took a rare dramatic turn. He lent his voice to the animated films Cars and Happily N’Ever After (both 2006). Carlin also appeared in the 2005 comedy documentary The Aristocrats.