Carl Reiner will be missed. The 98 year old passed away from natural causes at his home in Beverly Hills Monday night.
Having starred in Broadway musicals before furthering his career as a producer, writer and director, Reiner has left a prolific legacy.
While perhaps best known for the The Dick Van Dyke Show, along with his films Oh God starring George Burns, All of Me, with Martin and Lily Tomlin, and the The Jerk with Steve Martin, Reiner’s friends have turned to twitter to express how greatly they valued the man’s kindness and good character.
Born and raised in New York City as the son of Jewish immigrants, Reiner’s early pursuits were more humble.
His father was a watchmaker, and Reiner shared his talent for working with his hands. He would be employed as a sewing machine repairman until his older brother encouraged him to pursue performing.
In 1960, Reiner teamed with best friend, Mel Brooks as a comedy duo on The Steve Allen Show. Their performances on television and stage included Reiner playing the straight man in 2000 Year Old Man.
Eventually, the routine expanded into a series of 5 comedy albums and a 1975 animated television special, with the last album in the series winning a Grammy Award for Spoken Comedy Album. The act gave Brooks “an identity as a comic performer for the first time,” said Reiner.
Even in the last years of his life, Reiner was considered a statesman of comedy. Deeply respected in all of his pursuits, Reiner also knew how to run a lively Twitter account, where he seemed to take great pleasure in making a joke out of President Trump.
Two years years ago, Reiner said that he wanted to stick around to vote Trump out of office, stating “In my 96 and a half years, I’ve seen a lot of things, but the one thing I cannot bear to see is America being destroyed by racism, fearmongering and lies,” he went on to say “Fortunately there’s something we can do about that. On Nov. 6th we can vote for elected officials who will hold this president accountable.”
Still in the public eye into his 80s and 90s, Reiner took roles in the Ocean’s Eleven films and on popular sitcoms Two and a Half Men and Hot in Cleveland. He also voiced characters on shows including Family Guy, American Dad, King of the Hill, and Bob’s Burgers.
Carl Reiner is survived by his son, filmmaker and activist Rob Reiner. Reiner tweeted Tuesday morning, “Last night my dad passed away. As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.”
Reiner has left us all with wise words in this passage from 1977’s Carl Reiner: An American Film Institute Seminar on His Work where he had said “You have to imagine yourself not as somebody very special but somebody very ordinary. If you imagine yourself as somebody really normal and it makes you laugh, it’s going to make everybody laugh.”
In addition to winning his 6 Emmys, Reiner also received the Writer’s Guild Laurel Award in 1995, a lifetime achievement award for his career in TV writing. In 2000 he won the Mark Twain Prize for Humor, presented to him at the Kennedy Center.
In 2009, he was recognized for his writing legacy and valued service to the guild and greater writing community with the WGA’s Valentine Davies award.
His written works include several memoirs and novels titled My Anecdotal Life, I remember Me, and sequel to Enter Laughing, titled “Continue Laughing.”
In the 2003 My Anecdotal Life, Reiner suggested, “Inviting people to laugh with you while you are laughing at yourself is a good thing to do. You may be a fool, but you’re the fool in charge.”
Reiner’s wife Estelle, to whom he had been married since 1943 died in 2008. Carl’s surviving family includes Rob Reiner, Rob’s sister Sylvia Anne, and younger brother Lucas.