Carl Reiner, the veteran comedian and filmmaker recognized for his double act with Mel Brooks, as well as directing a series of successful comedies such as The Jerk and The Man With Two Brains, died 98.
Variety confirmed the news, reporting that its publicist said he died of natural causes Monday night at his Beverly Hills home.
Her son, the filmmaker Rob Reiner, published on social networks: “Last night my father passed away. As I write this my heart hurts. He was my guiding light.
Along with Brooks, Reiner became an American Jewish comedy icon for the couple’s sketch routines, most famously The 2000 Year Old Man, which first appeared in 1960, and grew out of their work as writers on the hit Sid Caesar Your Show television comedy shows. Reiner also achieved great television success by creating and co-writing The Dick Van Dyke Show, starring the popular artist, before becoming recognized as the director of Steve Martin’s best-known films. Reiner’s son Rob also became an acclaimed filmmaker, with hits like When Harry Met Sally, Stand By Me, and This Is Spinal Tap.
The film and television industry hastened to pay tribute. Alan Alda tweeted: “His talent will live for a long time, but the loss of his kindness and decency leaves a void in our hearts”; as William Shatner wrote: “From Sid Caesar’s writing room to recreating those moments for the Dick Van Dyke show, Carl was a master at his craft.” Josh Gad added: “Goodbye to one of the best comic minds of all time. Thank you for always making us laugh and for always giving us joy. “
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also tweeted his condolences and wrote: “Carl Reiner, born and raised in the Bronx, made a television comedy that lasts to this day. It made America laugh, a true gift. New York extends our condolences to his family and many friends. “
Born in New York in 1922, Reiner was the son of Jewish immigrants to the United States and served in the United States Air Force during World War II. After joining the service’s acting unit, Reiner burst into show business after hostilities ended, landing a spot on Your Show of Shows in 1950, where he would collaborate with people like Brooks and Neil Simon. Reiner stayed with Caesar during the 1950s, until he developed his own show about a comedy writer, which was delivered to Van Dyke as a vehicle alongside Mary Tyler Moore.
As a result of his success, Reiner moved to the movies: his directorial debut was Enter Laughing in 1967, adapted from his own autobiography of a Jewish boy trying to enter show business. Later films included the George Burns comedy Oh God! and wrestling comedy Henry Winkler, The One and Only.
In what was to become a momentous collaboration, Reiner was asked by then-hot stage and television comedian Steve Martin to direct his debut film, and the 1979 film The Jerk was the result. After their impressive box office numbers, the pair made three more films in a row: Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982), The Man with Two Brains (1983), and All of Me (1984), all of which were substantial successes.
In the decades that followed, his status as a comedy legend ensures that he completed numerous guest takes on television shows such as Frasier, King of the Hill, The Larry Sanders Show, and Ally McBeal, while the roles of the film in recent days. they included Steven Soderbergh’s scam artist Saul Bloom and “Carl Reinorcerous” remake of Ocean’s Eleven in Toy Story 4.
Reiner was a committed Democrat and a fervent opponent of President Trump. He remained active on social media, and one of his closing posts criticized Trump as “a corrupt and bankrupt businessman who had no qualifications to be the leader of any country in the civilized world.”
In 1943 he married cabaret singer Estelle Lebost, who would become famous for her role as a line in her son’s movie When Harry Met Sally: “I’ll have what he’s having.” Lebost died in 2008, and Reiner is survived by three children, Rob, Sylvia and Lucas.