Famous Alumni: George Carlin, comedian


Camp Notre Dame in Spofford, New Hampshire, had such an impact on actor/comedian George Carlin, he included the location of the camp in his will.

When he died in 2008, one of his last wishes was to have a portion of his ashes spread in Spofford Lake, where the now defunct all-boys Catholic camp he attended for several summers as a boy was located.

While a camper there, Carlin was a repeat winner of the camp’s Drama Award – his first year he stole the crown from future Saturday Night Live director Dave “Wacky” Wilson – and he is said to have been wearing a necklace he won at camp, one of his prized possessions, when he died:

“Every year that he was there, he won their drama award,” his daughter, Kelly Carlin-McCall, was quoted saying in an interview. “And one year, it was a little necklace with the comedy and tragedy masks on it. He wore that a lot. He started wearing it a lot lately, and he actually died with it on.”

Though Carlin was a proud alumnus of the camp, things didn’t end well for him there. Like at school, the Air Force, the choir, the Boy Scouts and the altar boys, Carlin was kicked out of camp. His crime, according to the biography Seven Dirty Words, was shoplifting film for his camera at a grocery store in town.

“True to form, however, Carlin did not begrudge the camp director,” author James Sullivan wrote in the book. “In later years, after he’d made a name for himself, he sometimes returned to Camp Notre Dame to visit John Callum.”

Find out what other celebrities went to summer camp on the Famous Alumni page.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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