Fox Gives Dangerfield Some Respect

Fox Television has secured rights to the comic Rodney Dangerfield's upcoming HarperCollins autobiography, "It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs."

"I'm excited that Fox is making a movie on my life story, but I hope they do it soon! I'm 82 years old," Dangerfield said in a statement Wednesday.

Dangerfield had double bypass heart surgery in March 2000, after complaining of chest pains after a week of performances in Las Vegas, and suffered a heart attack in November 2001 on his 80th birthday.

"At my age, I'm looking for a one-night sit! I'm thrilled about finishing my first book. Now I'm going to read another one," he said.

David Madden, executive vice president of movies and miniseries for Fox Television Studios, said Dangerfield has come up with a compelling book.

"It's clear that Dangerfield's 'no respect' catch phrase is more than just a glib line," Madden said. "Rodney struggled through a lot of menial jobs and a tortured personal life. It wasn't until he was 40 that he found his path.

"This mid-life transformation, along with his rough childhood, should provide fodder for a compelling biopic."

Born Jacob Cohen, he has starred in a number of films, including "Caddyshack" and "Easy Money" and had a dramatic role in Oliver Stone's "Natural Born Killers." He was one of the few comedians to crack up Ed Sullivan on "The Ed Sullivan Show," and performed on "The Tonight Show" a record 70 times.

He is credited with introducing to TV, through his HBO series from his nightclub, Jim Carrey, Roseanne, Louie Anderson, Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, Rita Rudner, Sam Kinison, Robert Townsend, Bob Saget, and Jeff Foxworthy.

His Web site — the first owned by a major entertainer — says he released an album of love songs, "Romeo Rodney," on Valentine's Day, but no listing for the album could be confirmed elsewhere.

As for respect, Dangerfield won a comedy album Grammy Award in 1981, a lifetime achievement award in 1994 from the American Comedy Awards, and his trademark white shirt and red tie are on permanent display at the Smithsonian.