March 12, 2007 / 12:50 AM / 10 years ago

Comic Richard Jeni dead in apparent suicide

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<p>File photo shows comedian and actor Richard Jeni performing in this undated photograph. Jeni, a regular on NBC's "The Tonight Show," has died in an apparent suicide, police said on Sunday. REUTERS</p>

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Stand-up comedian and actor Richard Jeni, a regular on NBC's "The Tonight Show," has died in an apparent suicide, police said on Sunday.

Los Angeles police spokeswoman Norma Eisenman said a woman called police on Saturday morning from the West Hollywood area and said: "My boyfriend just shot himself in the face."

Jeni, 45, was found alive and taken to hospital but was pronounced dead about an hour later, Eisenman said.

Jeni appeared in movies including as "The Mask" and in the TV show "Everybody Hates Chris," and was named in 2004 in the Comedy Central list of 100 great stand-up comedians.

He was a regular guest on "The Tonight Show" when Johnny Carson hosted the late-night talk and variety show and also after Jay Leno took over as host in 1992.

Born in Brooklyn, he also appeared in the HBO Comedy Hour and wrote material for the 2005 Academy Awards show.

Authorities have scheduled an autopsy for Monday to determine the exact cause of death.

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