Carl Reiner, longtime comedy legend, dies at 98

He was 98.

“Last night my dad passed away,” Rob Reiner wrote. “As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.”

His profession spanned reside tv, Broadway, movement footage, document albums and a wide range of visitor appearances. He was a performer and author on the legendary “Your Show of Shows.” He created “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” one of many nice state of affairs comedies in historical past, which was primarily based on his life as a comedy author.

So expansive was his attain in Hollywood that tributes flowed in on social media Tuesday from numerous generations.

“His talent will live on for a long time, but the loss of his kindness and decency leaves a hole in our hearts,” Alan Alda wrote.

Reiner’s ongoing routine with fellow comic and director Mel Brooks, “The 2000-Year-Old Man” — which started within the 1950s — was immortalized on a number of comedy albums. The act, a couple of reporter who interviews a 2000-year-old man about life, remains to be memorized and repeated by comedians previous and current, beloved for its fast-paced humor, absurd twists and apparent camaraderie between the pair.

But not like Brooks – who was typically the focus in no matter he was doing — Reiner most popular to play straight man or work behind the scenes.

He had a hand in lots of “Dick Van Dyke Show” scripts and infrequently popped up as a supporting character, grouchy TV host Alan Brady. He had a run as a film director with such movies as “Oh, God!” (1977) and “The Jerk” (1979).

Brooks praised him for his comedian intelligence.

“The real engine behind (‘The 2000-Year-Old man) is Carl, not me. I’m just collecting the fares,” he told the A.V. Club. “People should know that he’s the most important one in the act.”

Reiner believed in spreading the laughs — even when he was the butt of the joke, he wrote in his memoir, “An Anecdotal Life.”

“Inviting people to laugh with you while you are laughing at yourself is a good thing to do,” he wrote. “You may be a fool but you’re the fool in charge.”

How he acquired his begin

Reiner was typically the “fool in charge” all through his profession — although few folks would describe him as a idiot. More like an innovator.

He was born within the Bronx on March 20, 1922. According to his autobiography, his father was a watchmaker, his mom a homemaker, and younger Reiner needed to be an actor. The shy teenager acquired a wanted push when his older brother advised becoming a member of a Depression-era appearing class. By 17, Reiner was working often.

“Every week for a year, I did two shows at the Gilmore Theater. I was a very good, solid, serious actor. That’s what I wanted to do,” he told Moment magazine.

But severe, dramatic appearing was not within the playing cards for Reiner. After coming into the Army in 1942, he turned a teletype operator within the Signal Corps. In 1943, he was assigned to an leisure unit and ended up touring the South Pacific as a comic.

Reiner turned a standup comic after the struggle and landed a component in a 1947 assessment, “Call Me Mister.”

The subsequent 12 months he made it to Broadway in “Inside U.S.A.,” and a 12 months later turned up on tv in a program known as “54th Street Revue.” That present competed in opposition to “Admiral Broadway Revue,” which starred a rising comic named Sid Caesar.

When Caesar was given his personal program in 1950, “Your Show of Shows,” Reiner joined him.

Critics have broadly hailed “Your Show of Shows” for its adventurous comedy, written by a sterling workers that included Brooks, Neil Simon, Lucille Kallen, Mel Tolkin and Joe Stein. Though he contributed to the writing, Reiner was primarily an actor, typically portraying salesmen and hosts.

He and Brooks, nevertheless, established a lifelong bond.

“We worked in the office enough and our wives became friends,” he instructed Moment. Even after each turned widowers they might get collectively for dinner and dialog virtually each night time.

In some methods, the 2 had been opposites: Brooks the clown, Reiner the bemused observer. But it was that mixture that made the pair humorous, Brooks told CNN.

“He’s so real, and he’s so earnest,” he mentioned. “And then he begins relentlessly chasing me down and cornering me. And when he corners me I’m like a trapped rat and I spring at him something insane, and that busts him up.”

‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’

“Your Show of Shows” ran from 1950-54, and Reiner continued with Caesar on “Caesar’s Hour” from 1954-1957. After writing a novel, 1958’s “Enter Laughing,” Reiner created his personal present. The authentic model, “Head of the Family,” starred Reiner as a comedy author who commutes to New York from his suburban household life. It did not work, however producer Sheldon Leonard had an concept that saved it.

“(He told me), ‘We’ll get a better actor to play you.’ And he suggested Dick Van Dyke,” Reiner told CBS News.
The outcome, retitled “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” was an enormous hit, a well-crafted sitcom that provided groundbreaking takes on race, intercourse and the John F. Kennedy period. It ranks as one of the greatest TV series of all time.

Reiner continued branching out.

He had a significant position within the 1966 movie, “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming,” wherein he performed a slow-burning playwright. The subsequent 12 months, introduced “Enter Laughing,” Reiner’s movement image directorial debut.

In the ’70s and ’80s, Reiner turned a full-time film director. Four of his movies had been with Steve Martin: “The Jerk” (1979), “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” (1982), “The Man with Two Brains” (1983) and “All of Me” (1984).

“He was like a father to me … though I wouldn’t let him bathe me,” Martin recalled at an American Film Institute event for “The Jerk” in 2009.

The later years

In the ’90s, Reiner went again to appearing, notching visitor roles in “Frasier” and “Mad About You.” In the 2000s, he carried out within the “Ocean’s Eleven” movies and the TV sequence “Two and a Half Men,” amongst others.

He additionally turned a prolific author of books.

In 2019 he talked to NPR about how he spent his time writing and watching films, with actress Emma Stone being certainly one of his explicit favorites.

“She just melts me,” he mentioned.

He was broadly honored. He gained a number of Emmys, earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was named a Directors Guild honorary life member. In 2000, he acquired the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

But the most important prize, he mentioned, was his household. He and Estelle Reiner had been married for nearly 65 years; his youngsters all adopted him into the humanities, with son Rob turning into a famous actor and director himself.

“Show business is only 8 to 12. And the rest is your family. You’re only doing it so you can have a family and a house. Without a wife and children, show business means nothing. You’re doing it to make a living, but enjoying doing it and getting paid for something you love to do,” he told the Boston Globe.

And to what did he owe his longevity? For one factor, he stored his priorities straight.

“First thing in the morning, before I have coffee, I read the obits,” he told CBS News in 2015. “If I’m not in it, I’ll have breakfast.”