Tags: rodney dangerfield | regret | widow | joan child

Rodney Dangerfield's Biggest Regret Revealed by His Widow

Rodney Dangerfield's Biggest Regret Revealed by His Widow
Rodney Dangerfield and wife Joan Child in 2003 (Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 06 June 2019 11:38 AM

He got no respect, but that wasn’t legendary comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s biggest regret in life.

Dangerfield was one of comedy’s greats and his signature line about getting no respect set up innumerable jokes. Now his widow, Joan Child, has come forward to reveal the star battled depression for years. His biggest regret? “He wished success in his career and in romance came earlier to him. He wanted to live to 120 to make up for all the years of struggle,” Child told Closer Weekly recently. ,

Dangerfield had an unhappy childhood, but he soon discovered that making others laugh was therapeutic for himself. He fought hard to make it as a stand-up comedian but eventually put his dreams on the back burner while focusing his energy on starting a new business. 

When he did revisit those dreams of being a comic, he managed to make it to the big leagues. Child said her late husband found such joy in entertaining his audiences.

"He battled depression even when things were going well," Child said, according to Fox News. Child recalled how Dangerfield came from a broken home. His father was absent and his mother was uncaring. He found an escape in comedy.

"His childhood was miserable," said Child. "He felt unloved. He got his first laugh at dinner [at age 4] when he whined, 'I'm still hungry.' His mother said, 'You’ve had sufficient,' and he said, 'I didn't even have any fish!' Everybody laughed and it made him feel great. He never forgot it."

Comedy was always Dangerfield's first career choice but when things did not go according to plan, he set his ambitions aside in 1949 to open an aluminum siding business, which fell into trouble after an accountant "cooked the books." At the lowest point in his life Dangerfield decided to return to comedy and this time he managed to succeed.

"He said making audiences laugh was like a fix he needed to survive," said Child. "He would always try to get booked on his birthday as a little gift to himself. It meant that he was still relevant. [But] he seldom laughed himself. Even when watching other comedians he thought were brilliant."

Dangerfield also found lasting happiness with Child, whom he married in 1993. The two were happy for the duration of their 11-year-marriage.

"We got weekly mani-pedis and he’d sing love songs to me at the salon," she said. "He was romantic, and left me notes like, 'I’ll never let you down — unless you’re on a ladder.'"

Child said she felt excited to wake up each day with to her "own personal comedian." She noted that although Dangerfield came from such an unhappy background, he thrived on brining joy to others.

"His humor, I think, was a coping mechanism to battle his anxiety," she said. "If you can lift everyone’s spirits around you, you can feel a bit better, too. And when he was out on stage, that’s when he felt his best — the laughter was validating and fulfilling and made him feel loved."

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He got no respect, but that wasn't legendary comedian Rodney Dangerfield's biggest regret in life. Dangerfield was one of comedy's greats and his signature line about getting no respect set up innumerable jokes. Now his widow, Joan Child, has come forward to reveal...
rodney dangerfield, regret, widow, joan child
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2019-38-06
Thursday, 06 June 2019 11:38 AM
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