Carl Reiner, American comedy legend, dead at 98 – Rolling Stone

Carl Reiner, actor screenwriter, director and one of the defining comedic talents of the 20th century, has died, Variety reports. He was 98 years old.

Reiner’s assistant, Judy Nagy, confirmed his death. She said he died of natural causes Monday night at his home in Beverly Hills. Reiner’s son, actor and filmmaker Rob Reiner, posted on Twitter“Last night my father passed away. As I write this, my heart aches. He was my beacon. »

Reiner was a comedy mainstay for nearly seven decades, a relentless worker who got his start on ’50s variety shows and still provided a high-quality workout as the voice of “Carl Reineroceros” in the last year. toy story 4. While it’s impossible to single out what Reiner is “most famous for,” several potential options include: creating, writing, directing, and co-starring in The Dick Van Dyke Show; make classic comedies like Oh my God! and The Jerk; and form the longtime sketch duo, “2000 Year Old Man,” with Mel Brooks.

Over the course of her career, Reiner has won nine Primetime Emmy Awards, most for her work on The Dick Van Dyke Show. He and Brooks also won Best Comedy Album at the 1998 Grammys for The 2000 year old man in the year 2000.

Reiner’s death has sparked an outpouring of grief and memories from fans, peers and the myriad of comedians he influenced. “Goodbye to my greatest mentor in movies and in life”, wrote Steve Martin, whom Reiner directed in four films.

Sarah Silverman tweeted: “Not only did he make my favorite TV shows and movies (see: Where is dad) but his humanity was incomparable. Her heart was so full of love. He never left his house empty-handed – book, space pen, Swiss army knife. RIP to a man who embodies the word mensch.

In a statement shared with VarietyGeorge Clooney, who worked with Reiner on Ocean 11, 12 and 13said: “Carl Reiner made every room he walked in funnier, smarter, kinder. Everything seemed so easy. What an incredible gift he gave us all. It was a life well lived and we never “We’re all the better for it. Rest in peace my friend.”

Reiner was born in 1922 in New York City and gained early experience as a performer in summer shows and working on the Catskills resort circuit in upstate New York, known as of Borscht Belt. He then honed his craft in the United States Army, spending much of his time there during the end of World War II, performing for troops in the Pacific as part of the special services.

After returning to New York in the late 1940s, Reiner continued acting, securing jobs on Broadway and in small television shows. His first break came in 1950, when he joined Sid Caesar’s hit variety show. Your show of shows as a writer and actor. He went on to work with César on the comedian’s follow-up program, Caesar’s houreventually winning a pair of consecutive Emmys for Best Supporting Actor in 1957 and 1958.

By working on Your show of shows, Reiner and Brooks met and began to create one of the most famous comedy routines of all time, “2000 Year Old Man”, in which Reiner played a straight television interviewer talking with an incredibly outrageous man. old played by Brooks. In a 2009 interview with The New York Timesthe pair said the track started as a way to break lulls in the Show of shows writers room, with Reiner throwing random questions at Brooks. They extended it to close friends, but were hesitant to offer it to a wider audience as they were unsure how the thick Eastern European Jewish accent used by Brooks would be received. Eventually Steve Allen convinced them to record the sketch, and in 1960 they released the 2000 year old man LP. Four more albums would follow, the last arriving in 1998, while an animated comedy special was released in 1975.

During this Time interview, Reiner claimed that Cary Grant asked him for a dozen copies of 2000 year old man to take to England: “I said, ‘Why do you need 12? Are you going to play it in London? “recalls Reiner. “‘Yes, they speak English there,’ [Grant replied]. He came back. He said, ‘She loved it.’ Who? ‘The Queen Mother.’ “You took him to Buckingham Palace?” ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Well, there’s the biggest shiksa in the world, we’re fine.'”

In the early 60s, Reiner was also working on another new project, rooted in his time at Your show of shows and Caesar’s hour:It was a work/family sitcom, centered on Rob Petrie, the head writer of a comedy variety show. A driver for Householder was filmed in 1960, but went nowhere; Reiner then set about reworking and recasting the project, with Dick Van Dyke in the lead.

The Dick Van Dyke Show would become a ratings hit for CBS, running for five celebrated seasons. Along with writing and producing the show, Reiner took on a recurring role for himself as Alan Brady, the host of the variety show Rob de Van Dyke works for. In a 1988 interview with Terry Gross on Fresh air, Reiner explained why he took the role, saying, “I was looking for a big star. And I knew I couldn’t have a major star…and [give] him so many little scenes to do. So I said, I have to find someone they would think was a star. And then I got going – well, I was a second banana, but I was about to be a star.

Amid the success of The Dick Van Dyke SpectacleReiner started landing small roles in movies like The thrill of it all and It’s a crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy world. After The Dick Van Dyke Show enveloped in 1966, Reiner throws himself into Hollywood: that same year, he plays in Norman Jewison’s comedy, The Russians are coming, the Russians are comingand made his directorial debut with Walk in laughingan adaptation of the semi-autobiographical novel he published in 1958 (before hitting the big screen, Walk in laughing was adapted into a Broadway play in 1963).

Success in Hollywood, however, did not come immediately. Reiner’s 1970 film Where is dad ? failed to make a dent in the box office, and although it eventually became a cult favorite, Reiner did not direct another film until 1977. The one he did that year, however , Oh my God! was an undeniable success, with John Denver playing a supermarket manager who is enlisted by God – played by George Burns – to spread His message.

Two years later, Reiner teamed up with Steve Martin for the first time on Shaking, the wildly successful comedy that helped launch Martin’s film career. Reiner and Martin would work together on three more films over the next five years: 1982 Dead men don’t wear tiles1983 The man with two brains and 1984 All of me.

“Steve Martin is a genius, there’s no doubt about him,” Reiner recalled during a 2014 interview with Tom Green. “I took four photos with him and each one was a joy… He wrote a biography, it’s called Born standing, this is one of the best written books you will ever see. He also writes about art, he’s so knowledgeable about art. The fact that he plays the banjo, I forgive him. I forgive him for that. But he plays the banjo really well. He’s one of the most creative people I know. »

After her run with Martin, Reiner continued to direct films through the 80s and 90s, with her latest, This old feeling, arrived in 1997. But while he eventually walked away from acting, he never stopped acting and started doing more voiceovers. In 2001, he was introduced to another new generation with a memorable role in Steven Soderbergh’s film. Ocean 11 (he would also repeat it in the two sequels). He was also a must-have guest actor on a series of TV shows like king of the hill, The Bernie Mac Show, Ally McBealHome, Parks and Recreation, Bob’s Burgersand family guy.

Reiner has also been a prolific writer throughout his career, publishing a mix of novels, children’s books and memoirs (between 2012 and 2015 he published a trio of increasingly ridiculously titled autobiographies: I remember myself, I just remembered and what i forgotoh Remember). In his 80s and 90s, he was also a happy adopter of new technology, even joking on a 2014 episode of Conan that he would propose a new take the “selfie” called “selfishie”, in which one person hogs the camera frame in a group photo. Fiercely political too, Reiner has regularly taken to Twitter in recent years to express his thoughts on President Donald Trump, when just a few days ago a picture emerged of Reiner, his daughter Annie and Mel Brooks all wearing Black Lives Matter shirts.

In a 2016 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Reiner reflected on the breadth of his career and explained — with quintessential Zen spirit — how he never allowed himself to get bogged down in criticism. “I love what I do because I don’t let it out unless I’m proud of it,” he said. “So whatever people comment and say they like, I agree with them. And the things I did that sucked, I agree with them too. But I didn’t so many things I’m not proud of.

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