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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 April, 2003, 08:30 GMT 09:30 UK
US comic improves after surgery
Rodney Dangerfield (centre) with Jim Carrey (left) and Jay Leno
Dangerfield (centre) had a 12-hour operation
US comedian Rodney Dangerfield is breathing without help after last week's 12-hour brain bypass operation.

His publicist said the 81-year-old, best known for his roles in 1980s films such as Caddyshack, was looking forward to watching episodes of The Jerry Springer Show.

Dangerfield is in a stable condition at the University of California Los Angeles Medical Center after the operation, which is to prepare his heart for a valve replacement.

"He's not out of the woods yet, but they took out the breathing tubes today and he appeared thrilled and absolutely elated," Dangerfield's spokesman Kevin Sasaki said on Monday.

"He's conscious now, and the first thing he wanted to do today was tune into 'Jerry Springer', which is his favourite show," Sasaki said.

Dangerfield needed the operation to improve his blood flow in preparation for the heart surgery. The operation took four hours longer than anticipated.

Doctors pleased

The procedure, known as an extracranial-intracranial brain bypass, involves inserting the superficial temporal artery, near the ear, into the middle cerebral artery of the brain.

The comedian is expected to undergo heart surgery in May. Doctors are said to be pleased with his recovery so far.

Dangerfield became known to US audiences during the 1960s and 1970s from his appearances on the Ed Sullivan and Dean Martin shows and the Tonight Show.

He had suffered a mild heart attack in 2001 - two years after undergoing double heart bypass surgery.

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