Carl Reiner, comedian, actor, director, screenwriter, and publisher, whose career spanned seven decades, passed away on June 29. He was 98.
During the early years of television comedy, from 1950 to 1957, he co-wrote and acted on Sid Caesar’s pioneering “Your Show of Shows.” In the 1960s, Reiner was best known as the creator and producer of “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
Reiner, the father of filmmaker Rob Reiner, was the winner of nine Emmy awards, including five for “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” His most popular films as a director included “Oh God,” “The Jerk,” and “All of Me.”
Reiner was born in the Bronx, on March 20, 1922, to Irving, a watchmaker, and Bessie (née Mathias) Reiner. His parents were Jewish immigrants; his father was from Austria and his mother was from Romania.
In 1943, Reiner was drafted into the Army Air Forces and served during World War II, eventually achieving the rank of corporal. He also toured the Pacific, entertaining troops. After the war, he performed in several Broadway musicals, before joining Caesar’s writing staff, which also included Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen and Larry Gelbart.
Starting in 1960, Reiner teamed with Brooks as a comedy duo on “The Steve Allen Show,” where they developed the long-running “2000 Year Old Man” routine. In 1961, a recording of the skit was an immediate hit and spawned several sequels, the last of which, 1998’s “The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000,” won the pair a Grammy. Reiner also acted in films such as “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” in 1963, “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming,” in 1966, and the “Ocean’s” film series (2001–2007). In 2000, Reiner was honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center.
In a statement on social media on Tuesday, Rob Reiner wrote, “Last night my dad passed away. As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.”
Reiner’s wife Estelle, to whom he had been married since 1943, died in 2008. He was also the father of author Annie Reiner, and artist Lucas Reiner, and the grandfather of actress Tracy Reiner.