Comedy legend Carl Reiner passes away at age 98
It is with great sadness that ComingSoon.net (via Deadline) must report the passing of writer, director, actor and comedy legend Carl Reiner of natural causes at age 98. The father of noted actor/director Rob Reiner was most famous for creating The Dick Van Dyke Show, directing The Jerk and his role as Saul Bloom in the Ocean’s movies. Here is his final Tweet made three days ago…
Nothing pleases me more than knowing that I have lived the best life possible by having met & marrying the gifted Estelle (Stella) Lebost—who partnered with me in bringing Rob, Annie & Lucas Reiner into to this needy & evolving world.
— carl reiner (@carlreiner) June 27, 2020
Reiner began his career as a performer on Broadway before transitioning into television on Sid Caesar’s variety program Your Show of Shows. Reiner acted both as cast member and as part of the writing staff that also included Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen and Larry Gelbart. In the early 60’s he would partner with Brooks as a comedy duo, performing their classic “2000 Year Old Man” routine which would eventually morph into 5 albums, the most recent of which came out in 1997. He and Brooks would maintain their friendship right up to the end.
In 1961 he created the iconic sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, which followed the home life of a TV writer named Rob Petrie (Van Dyke) and his wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore). Originally a starring vehicle for himself titled “Head of the Family,” the show was retooled with Reiner instead taking on the role of egotistical TV host Alan Brady, a role he later reprised in 1995 on an episode of Mad About You. The show ran from 1961-1965 for 158 episodes over 5 Seasons which continued on as a syndication mainstay.
In 1966 Reiner had the lead role opposite Alan Arkin in Norman Jewison’s hit Cold War comedy The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming. In 1967 he kicked off his directing career with Enter Laughing, based on his own autobiographical 1958 novel about his early days as an actor.
He struck gold directing George Burns in the smash hit 1977 comedy Oh, God!, and then followed it up two years later with the inaugural Steve Martin vehicle The Jerk. Channeling Martin’s absurdist humor to maximum effect, the film about Navin R. Johnson’s picaresque journey from the son of poor black sharecroppers to unlikely millionaire became a box office phenomenon. It launched a short but fruitful partnership with Martin, whom he directed in three other films including Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982), The Man with Two Brains (1983), and All of Me (1984).
Other films which Reiner directed include Where’s Poppa? (1970), Summer Rental (1985), Summer School (1986), Fatal Instinct (1993) and That Old Feeling (1997).
While his directing career petered out in the 90’s, Reiner continued to act in popular TV shows like The Larry Sanders Show, Ally McBeal, House, Two and a Half Men, Hot in Cleveland, The Cleveland Show, American Dad, Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, and Justice League: Action. He most recently voiced the role of Carl Reineroceros in the box office smash Toy Story 4.
In 2001 Reiner nabbed arguably his most popular acting role as one of the titular Ocean’s Eleven in Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 smash, portraying the elder con man Saul Bloom, a role intended for his old pal Alan Arkin. He reprised the role in Ocean’s Twelve (2004) and Ocean’s Thirteen (2007), and even filmed a cameo for 2018’s Ocean’s Eight alongside Matt Damon which was ultimately cut from that film.
Last night my dad passed away. As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) June 30, 2020
Goodbye to my greatest mentor in movies and in life. Thank you, dear Carl. https://t.co/H7A4ZwIqfc
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) June 30, 2020
I’ve known Carl Reiner my whole life and I can’t imagine a world without him. A loss for me, a loss for my family, a loss for all of us.
— Max Brooks (@maxbrooksauthor) June 30, 2020
How lucky are we all to have had a lifetime of #CarlReiner. A giant of comedy and the most generous, decent, beautiful man. RIP dear friend.
— Paul Reiser (@PaulReiser) June 30, 2020
So sad to hear about @carlreiner Not only did he make my favorite TV& movies (see:Where’s Poppa) but his humanity was beyond compare. His heart was so full of love. Never left his house empty handed- book, space pen, Swiss Army knife. RIP to a man that embodies the word mensch pic.twitter.com/mazBmwznkX
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) June 30, 2020
The great #CarlReiner has gone to that Show of Shows in the sky. I worked with him, loved him, and consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world to have once attended lunch with his hilarious, guarrulous gang…
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) June 30, 2020
Very sad to awake to the news that @carlreiner has passed. There will forever only be one of him. May his memory be forever blessed. He leaves us with so much laughter. My heart goes out to @robreiner and the entire Reiner family.
— Ed Asner (@TheOnlyEdAsner) June 30, 2020
As if 2020 weren’t cruel enough. Goodbye to one of the greatest comedic minds of all time. Thank you for always making us laugh and for always giving us joy. My deepest condolences go out to the entire Reiner family. RIP #CarlReiner pic.twitter.com/IeJ3RkG2vS
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) June 30, 2020
RIP #Carl Reiner – A brilliant comedy talent w/heart & intellect whether writing, directing, producing or performing. Try estimating how many times in your life this fella’s work made you laugh. I count well over 3k for me & growing. Thank you, Carl. https://t.co/95dleAFveQ
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) June 30, 2020
Carl Reiner was a legend. Writer, director, actor, innovator. He helped shape so much in comedy. If you have time today put “Mel brooks and Carl Reiner” into youtube and enjoy two of the funniest humans making each other laugh for over 50 years.https://t.co/Owxx5Vgwq4
— Ben Schwartz (@rejectedjokes) June 30, 2020
I’m so sorry to hear that Carl Reiner has passed on. He was a great entertainer and a fine man.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) June 30, 2020
I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of show business legend Carl Reiner. An innovator, entertainer and beloved icon, his nearly century of life was like a roadmap through American culture. His wit and courage never left him. My heartfelt condolences to his family.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) June 30, 2020
Carl Reiner was comedy genius. Often that genius made other funny people even funnier. But give him a stage and he could spin laughter out of any moment. I watched him do it time and again. His contributions to comedy are eternal. And a lovely man, as well. #ripCarlReiner
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) June 30, 2020
Already, I am upset to be living in a world without Carl Reiner and I only know the man his public work and essence. But I have one small remembrance of a random encounter that makes me laugh and I’m gonna share: Long time ago I was a newspaper reporter and I had the chance…
— David Simon (@AoDespair) June 30, 2020
RIP to the great Carl Reiner – sending love to all the Reiners – a great loss but a truly wonderful life –
No words can express my respect and gratitude for knowing his family –
— John Cusack (@johncusack) June 30, 2020
I saw every episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show 2x by the time I was 13. It was the 1st time I saw a depiction of being a comedy writer. When I grew up I wanted to be Carl Reiner. RIP to a man who lived a full life and left needing nothing- except this ashtray & this paddle game… pic.twitter.com/2cla1LtL6v
— Christopher Miller (@chrizmillr) June 30, 2020
— The Kennedy Center (@kencen) June 30, 2020
— Sanjeev Bhaskar (@TVSanjeev) June 30, 2020
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Author: Max Evry