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…
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.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)