Actor and filmmaker Rob Reiner, certainly one of his sons, confirmed the loss of life in a tweet.
The elder Mr. Reiner gained a nationwide following within the 1950s reverse Sid Caesar on influential TV comedy applications, directed films that launched Steve Martin’s movie profession within the 1970s and 1980s, and performed an ageing con man within the well-liked “Oceans 11” film franchise of the 2000s starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
Mr. Reiner was masterful at following comedian logic to its most ridiculous conclusion — particularly when he collaborated with Brooks on ad-libbed comedy routines in regards to the 2,000-Year-Old Man. The first of their 5 albums, launched in 1961, influenced a era of comedians, together with Bill Cosby, Billy Crystal, Albert Brooks and Paul Reiser.
“I went into this business after hearing Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner do their 2,000-Year-Old-Man routine,” Cosby as soon as stated. “I loved their flow of humor, the looseness of it and the fact that any second, a piece of greatness could suddenly be created.”
Mr. Reiner performed the keen, probing questioner who tried to elicit pearls of knowledge any common listener would need to know from a man who was 2,000 years outdated, performed by Brooks.
Reiner: Sir, what do you think about the best medical discovery within the 2,000 years that you simply’ve lived, to be? Would it’s the arrival of transplants of organs, the usage of antibiotics, the heart-lung machine?
None of the above, Brooks replied. It was liquid Prell shampoo, whose bottle was unbreakable. “A heart-lung machine is in your medicine cabinet and falls out — it’s gonna break!”
Mr. Reiner pushed for details about historic figures with whom the two,000-Year-Old Man crossed paths. Brooks revealed that Helen of Troy had a less-attractive sister named Janice who had a physique that might “launch a few canoes.”
Brooks as soon as stated of Mr. Reiner: “His genius was in getting this little Jewish rat in a corner and trapping him. He’d always say, ‘Prove it, prove it.’
“I’d come up with these fantastic statements . . . and he never let me up, he’d be demanding real proof for all my statements. Which was insane, since the first statement was I was 2,000 years old, and that wasn’t challenged.”
As Mr. Reiner informed the Los Angeles Times, “I knew a man in panic was just hilarious. I knew that if he was against the wall, he’d always find gold.”
During the 1950s, Mr. Reiner and Brooks would solely carry out the two,000-Year-Old Man interviews for pals at dinner events. They had been reluctant to report the routine.
In a 1999 New York Times interview, he recalled telling Brooks, “We can’t do it for anybody but Jews and non-anti-Semitic friends. The Eastern-European Jewish accent Mel did was persona non grata in 1950. The war had been over for five years, the Jews had been maligned enough.”
Mr. Reiner and Brooks slowly constructed a following among the many show-business elite — comic George Burns threatened to steal the concept if they didn’t report it first.
The first Reiner-Brooks report, “2000 Years with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks,” reportedly offered greater than 1 million copies. In an period when lots of Jewish comics and writers hid their ethnic identities, the album was among the many first to assist make Jewish humor mainstream, the comedy historian Gerald Nachman stated in an interview for this obituary.
Mr. Reiner stated the film star Cary Grant as soon as performed it for the Queen Mother at Buckingham Palace, and she apparently “roared” with laughter.
Using a Yiddish expression for non-Jewish lady, Mr. Reiner informed Brooks, “Well, there’s the biggest shiksa in the world. We must be all right.”
‘Your Show of Shows’
Carl Reiner was born March 20, 1922, within the Bronx, N.Y., to Romanian immigrants. After finishing highschool at 16, he was working as a machinist’s helper within the millinery commerce when he started taking drama courses sponsored by the federal Work Projects Administration.
Tall, lean and rubbery-faced, he was a bodily comic with a booming voice and a expertise for foreign-accented gibberish. After serving in an Army leisure unit throughout World War II, he appeared in Broadway musicals earlier than becoming a member of the forged of the Caesar comedy program “Your Show of Shows” in 1950.
“We really needed a second banana, somebody who could dive in and out of Sid and support him,” Brooks as soon as stated. “Nobody could do foreign gibberish better than Sid Caesar, but this Reiner guy could keep up with him.”
Both NBC’s “Your Show of Shows” (1950-54) and its successor, “Caesar’s Hour” (1954-57) had been reside applications that drew tens of tens of millions of viewers each week with their mix of slapstick comedy and subtle farce. They set the usual for later applications comparable to “The Carol Burnett Show” and “Saturday Night Live.”
The Caesar exhibits featured a few of the most creative comedy writers ever assembled, together with Brooks (who went on to direct “The Producers” and “Young Frankenstein”), Mel Tolkin (later a author for “All in the Family”), Larry Gelbart (a creator of the TV collection “M.A.S.H.”) and Neil Simon (who immortalized the writers’ room in his play “Laughter on the 23d Floor” and additionally wrote, amongst many different performs and films, “The Odd Couple.”)
Along with Imogene Coca and Howard Morris, Mr. Reiner was a important supporting participant in Caesar’s parodies of international movies (“U-bet-u,” a sendup of samurai films), up to date sport exhibits (“Break Your Brains”) and tragic opera (“Gallipacci,” whose rating opens with rousing aria set to “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”)
Creatively talking, the two,000-Year-Old Man was born in 1950, after Mr. Reiner got here to work at some point after seeing a program referred to as “We the People Speak,” during which actors impersonate newsmakers.
“They were interviewing this guy on TV, who was saying, ‘I was in Stalin’s toilet and I overheard their plans — they’re gonna blow up the world next Tuesday.’ I couldn’t believe I had heard something on TV so stupid,” he informed the Los Angeles Times in 1994. “So I went into the writers’ room and said to Mel [Brooks], ‘Isn’t it true you were there when Christ was crucified?’ I didn’t even expect an answer, but Mel just took off.”
Creating a TV traditional
After “Caesar’s Hour” ended its run, Mr. Reiner was dissatisfied with the TV affords that got here his method. So he created a sitcom, referred to as “Head of the Family,” based mostly on his life as a variety-show author who lives within the New York suburbs.
The pilot, starring Mr. Reiner and Barbara Britton as his spouse, flopped. But actor and veteran TV producer Sheldon Leonard rescued the idea from the trash bin.
“I knew he was talented,” Leonard as soon as stated of Mr. Reiner, “so I wondered why it hadn’t sold. He had been miscast. He didn’t look or sound like a Scarsdale [commuter]. . . . His willingness to step aside and let someone else carry the ball was the reason for the existence of ‘The Dick Van Dyke’ show.”
Van Dyke, a rising Broadway actor, was his substitute, and the little-known actress Mary Tyler Moore performed his spouse. Mr. Reiner forged himself because the megalomaniacal TV host, Alan Brady, whose toupee turned a working gag.
Mr. Reiner shared 5 Emmy Awards for writing and producing the sitcom, which aired on CBS from 1961 to 1966 and has been in near-constant syndication ever since.
It was one of many first exhibits in regards to the technique of writing for tv, an unique world for many viewers at the time, and it confirmed a much more playful, plausible married couple than earlier sitcoms, comedy historian Nachman stated.
Van Dyke’s character additionally had a self-doubting vulnerability that was uncommon in an period of two-dimensional sitcom dads. Nachman referred to as the present a transition between “goody two-shoes sitcoms” of the 1950s and grittier fare like “All in the Family” within the 1970s.
Mr. Reiner went on to concentrate on a film profession. He had a number one position within the Cold War movie comedy “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming” (1966) with Jonathan Winters. He later turned a commercially profitable director with “Oh, God!” (1977), starring George Burns, and early Steve Martin comedies, together with “The Jerk” (1979) and the film-noir sendup “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” (1982).
In 1967, Mr. Reiner directed “Enter Laughing,” based mostly on his earlier, semi-autobiographical novel. His different directing credit included “Where’s Poppa?” (1970), based mostly on Robert Klane’s darkly comedian novel, and the tepid comedies “Summer Rental” (1985) starring John Candy and the Armand Assante automobile “Fatal Instinct” (1993), a parody of horny thrillers.
Mr. Reiner had frequent visitor roles on TV exhibits and gained one other Emmy, in 1995, when he revived the Brady character on the NBC sitcom “Mad About You.” He additionally was a poker buddy of Johnny Carson and made 47 appearances on “The Tonight Show.”
In his display screen work, Mr. Reiner was maybe overshadowed by his spouse, the previous Estelle Lebost, who spoke one of many best-remembered film strains of all time. His son Rob forged her in “When Harry Met Sally” (1989) because the deli patron who watches Meg Ryan faux a really public orgasm and then tells a waitress, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Estelle Reiner died in 2008, after practically 65 years of marriage. They had three kids. A whole record of survivors was not instantly obtainable.
In 1999, Mr. Reiner was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Science Hall of Fame, and the subsequent yr acquired the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. He additionally shared with Brooks the 1998 Grammy Award for finest spoken comedy album for his or her remaining launch that includes the two,000-Year-Old Man.
Crystal wrote within the foreword to Mr. Reiner’s 2013 memoir, “I Remember Me,” “I’ve always looked at his career as one of the best ever and one of the most important. . . . He didn’t have to be a star. Always willing to be second if it helped the team finish first, Carl has never had an air about him. He is what he is: a nice genius.”