George Denis Patrick Carlin (12 May 1937 - 22 June 2008) was a five-time Grammy-winning American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor, and author who narrated the first through fourth seasons of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends for American audiences on Shining Time Station. He also re-narrated the first and second seasons (also on Shining Time Station), and played Mr. Conductor in Shining Time Station and "Mr Conductor's Thomas Tales". His third season narrations were also used for New Zealand VHS releases. After narrating the fourth season, Carlin left the series to do several explicit comedy specials and pursued other projects.
On 22 June 2008, Carlin died of heart failure at a hospital in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 71. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered without any religious ceremonies, as he wished. Following his death, Britt Allcroft and Rick Siggelkow (the co-producer of Shining Time Station) wrote tributes to him.
While Carlin usually insulted most of the shows that he did, he usually spoke very fondly of both Shining Time Station and Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, even in some of his stand-up comedy routines. In an interview on "TV Legends" conducted shortly before his death, he explained that he signed on to both shows so that people could see a different side of him.
- "Burns and Carlin at the Playboy Club Tonight" (1963)
- "Take-Offs and Put-Ons" (1967)
- "FM and AM" (1972)
- "Class Clown" (1972)
- "Occupation: Foole" (1973)
- "Toledo Window Box" (1974)
- "An Evening with Wally Londo Featuring Bill Slaszo" (1975)
- "On the Road" (1977)
- "Indecent Exposure: Some of the Best of George Carlin" (1978)
- "Killer Carlin" (1981)
- "A Place for My Stuff" (1981)
- "Carlin on Campus" (1984)
- "Playin' with Your Head" (1986)
- "What am I Doing in New Jersey?" (1988)
- "Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics" (1990)
- "Jammin' in New York" (1992)
- "Classic Gold" (1992)
- "Back in Town" (1996)
- "You are All Diseased" (1999)
- "The Little David Years (1971-1977)" (1999)
- "Complaints and Grievances" (2001)
- "George Carlin on Comedy" (2002)
- "Life is Worth Losing" (2006)
- "More Napalm and Silly Putty" (2007)
- "It's Bad for Ya" (2008)
- "Sometimes a Little Brain Damage can Help" (1984)
- "Brain Droppings" (1997)
- "Napalm and Silly Putty" (2001)
- "When will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?" (2004)
- "Watch my Language" (2007)
Major awards and nominations
- WON: Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording, 1972, for "FM and AM"
- WON: Grammy Award for Best Spoken Comedy Album, 1993, for "Jammin' in New York"
- WON: Grammy Award for Best Spoken Comedy Album, 2001, for "Brain Droppings"
- WON: Grammy Award for Best Spoken Comedy Album, 2002, for "Napalm and Silly Putty"
- WON: Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording, 2008, for "It's Bad For Ya"
- Nominated - Daytime Emmy Awards - Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series, 1992 and 1994 for "Shining Time Station"
- He, Ringo Starr, Alec Baldwin, and Pierce Brosnan have hosted Saturday Night Live and made guest appearances on The Simpsons.
- He was a proponent of the choice by Kenn Viselman.
- He was good friends with Russell Means, who played Billy Twofeathers in Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
- Despite him being a North American narrator, his narrations have been released on VHS in New Zealand as well as narrating the Taiwanese version of the fourth season and he was credited as a narrator on all Season 1-2 DVD releases in the Philippines.
- Both he and Rokurō Naya played Zugor in "Tarzan 2" for their respective languages.
- He reprised his role as Rufus in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventures", in which Jamie Thomason was voice director.
- George stated in an interview that when he worked on Shining Time Station, he would tell children when they came up to see if he was Mr. Conductor, because he was tall, "I'm not on the Island of Sodor today, I'm working here, but I am Mr. Conductor".
- George was born on the same day when The Railway Series was first published. More specifically, The Three Railway Engines was published on his eighth birthday in 1945.
- He, Radovan Vaculík, Ringo Starr, Carlos Enrique Bonilla, Jorge Ornelas, Enzo Avolio, Víctor Delgado, Bohuslav Kalva, Daiki Nakamura, Aku Laitinen, Marjolein Algera, Jukka Voutilaninen, Shinobu Adachi, Pasi Ruohonen, Loretta Santini, Olga Hnidey, Don Nemitz, Bin Shimada, Reinder van der Naalt, Ángel Amorós, Gerardo Reyero, Luis Alfonso Padilla, Octavio Rojas, Louise Raeder, Humberto Vélez, Hadar Shachaf Ma'ayan, Chie Kōjiro, Samuel Harjanne, Keiko Toda, Pierce Brosnan and Alec Baldwin all worked on "The Simpsons".