Sam Kinison: Happy Birthday, Unhappy Everything Else
Sam Kinison took the comedic world by storm. He said the stuff everyone else thought they were thinking but never said. That's a miraculous feat for a comedian. he took his image to some of the greatest heights a stand-up comedian ever could. Sold out arenas, a-list invitee, everyman emcee for the rock-and-roll lifestyle, movie rolls, and a Grammy Nomination.
Born in the 50's, and killed in a car crash on a desert highway, his death was as unpredictable as his life, and his stage routine. Sam was discovered by Rodney Dangerfield, who saw him at a club. Dangerfield added Kinison to his HBO Special, and Kinison's caustic and edgy style and topics gained momentum. As did his drug and alcohol abuse. The lifestyle that should have killed Sam many times was reportedly in the rearview mirror as he drove to his gig at a Laughlin NV. club
on April 10th, 1992. He was newly married, and sober for the first time in countless years. He was killed in a head-on collision with a pickup truck that crossed the center line.
That Kinison made it to 1992 and was sober at the time of the accident pointed to a complete 180* switch from the lifestyle that helped him get famous in the previous decade. Hard-partying, unhealthy habits were behind him--a career resurgence and marriage ahead. That he was killed by a teenager who himself was submerged in the same lifestyle Sam had just left is the definition of irony.
Sam's brother Bill runs his estate, and wrote a book about the comedian and his life called "Brother Sam" and Sam has a daughter from a previous encounter with a friend's wife. His 1992-newlywed wife Malika has moved on, and Sam's legacy is as empty as the road on which he died. There has been talk of a movie about his life based on the book. HBO is said to be producing.