American comedian, George Carlin, has died of heart failure at age 71, according to the Associated Press.
The AP's report chronicles Mr. Carlin's brushes with legal notoriety and his legendary comedy routine, Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV:
Carlin's jokes constantly pushed accepted boundaries of comedy and language, particularly with his routine on the "Seven Words" — all of which are more or taboo on broadcast TV and radio to this day. When he uttered all seven at a show in Milwaukee in 1972, he was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace, freed on $150 bail — and typically unapologetic on his release.
A Wisconsin judge dismissed the case, saying the language was indecent but citing free speech and the lack of any disturbance.
When the words were later played on a New York radio station, they resulted in a Supreme Court ruling in 1978 upholding the government's authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language during hours when children might be listening.
"So my name is a footnote in American legal history, which I'm perversely kind of proud of," he told The Associated Press earlier this year.
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto