Carl Reiner, longtime comedy legend, dies at 98

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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 dwell tv, Broadway, movement photos, file 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 varied 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 few reporter who interviews a 2000-year-old man about life, continues 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 in contrast to Brooks – who was usually the focal point in no matter he was doing — Reiner most well-liked 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 advised 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 received his begin

Reiner was usually 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 received a wanted push when his older brother steered becoming a member of a Depression-era appearing class. By 17, Reiner was working recurrently.

“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 advised Moment journal.

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 battle and landed an element in a 1947 evaluation, “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, usually portraying salesmen and hosts.

He and Brooks, nonetheless, established a lifelong bond.

“We worked in the office enough and our wives became friends,” he advised Moment. Even after each turned widowers they’d get collectively for dinner and dialog nearly each evening.

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 advised 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 advised CBS News.
The consequence, 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 many biggest TV collection of all time.

Reiner continued branching out.

He had a serious position within the 1966 movie, “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming,” during which 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 occasion 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 collection “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 one in every of his specific 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 changing 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 advised the Boston Globe.

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

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

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