Carl Reiner Dies, Comedy Legend and Iconic Director Was 98

Lawrence Kim
July 1, 2020

He was known for his work in Caesar's 1950s troupe, as the snarling, toupée-wearing Alan Brady of The Dick Van Dyke Show and in such films as The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

It starred Van Dyke as a television comedy writer working for a demanding, eccentric boss (Reiner) and living with his wife (Mary Tyler Moore in her first major TV role) and young son in suburban New Rochelle, N.Y.

Hollywood is mourning the loss of comedy legend Carl Reiner, who died Monday night of natural causes at his Beverly Hills home at the age of 98.

Reiner's career spanned seven decades and every medium from theatre and recordings to television and movies, including directing Oh, God!, three collaborations with Steve Martin and a role as an elderly con man in the revived Ocean's Eleven series.

He was still taking voice roles in his 90s and had a key role in If You're Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast, a documentary about people who keep busy into their 90s.

"Last night my dad passed away", Reiner's son Rob Reiner wrote on Tuesday. "He was my guiding light".

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. He would go on to appear in shows titled Inside U.S.A. and Alive and Kicking on Broadway.

Along with Brooks, Reiner became an icon of Jewish-American comedy for the pair's sketch routines, most famously The 2000 Year Old Man which first appeared on record in 1960, and grew out of their work as writers on Sid Caesar's hit TV comedy Your Show of Shows. Originally, Reiner had developed the series with himself in mind to star in the lead role, though the network opted to recast the part and give the sitcom's starring role to Dick Van Dyke. Reiner drew a splendidly over-the-top performance from Anne Bancroft, Mel Brooks's wife, as a fading star. After its impressive box office figures, 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.

He was in 2001's Ocean's Eleven and its two sequels as conman Saul Bloom, and had a double act with Mel Brooks.

Reiner wrote four volumes of memoirs, including I Just Remembered in 2014, as well as children's books.

He also made appearances on "Hot in Cleveland" and "Two and a Half Men".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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