The cause of Carl Reiner death is natural causes. He died at his home in Beverly Hills, his assistant Judy Nagy told in a statement.

Who is Carl Reiner?

Carl Reiner, the ingenious and versatile writer, actor and director who broke through as a “second banana” to Caesar and rose to comedy’s front ranks as the creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and second banana to Mel Brooks’ “2000 Year Old Man,” has died. He was 98.

Reiner’s assistant Judy Nagy said he died Monday night of natural causes at his range in Beverly Hills, California.

Reiner was the daddy of actor-director Rob Reiner, who tweeted that his “heart is hurting. He was my luminary .” The younger Reiner starred as Archie Bunker’s son-in-law on “All within the Family” and directed “When Harry Met Sally…”

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Carl Reiner: Movie, Shows, Acting career

Carl Reiner was one among show business’ best-liked men. Bald or toupeed, his was a welcome face on the tiny and silver screens: In Caesar’s 1950s troupe; because the self-absorbed 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.”

In recent years, he was a part of the roguish gang within the “Ocean’s Eleven” movies starring George Clooney and appeared in documentaries including “Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age” and “If you are not within the Obit, Eat Breakfast.”


Tributes poured in, with Van Dyke calling Reiner “kind, gentle, compassionate, empathetic and wise,” and Clooney saying he made “every room he walked into funnier, smarter, kinder.”

Betty White described herself as privileged to figure with Reiner and “heartbroken.” Martin said goodbye to “my greatest mentor in movies and in life. Thank you, dear Carl.” Billy Crystal said “all folks in comedy have lost an enormous,” and Sarah Silverman said, “his humanity was beyond compare.”

Brooks said he and Reiner had been best friends since meeting on “Your Show of Shows.”

“Carl was an enormous, unmatched in his contributions to entertainment,” Brooks said. “When we were doing “The 2000 Year Old Man” together there was no better second banana within the world. So whether he wrote or performed or he was just your ally — nobody could roll in the hay better. He’ll be greatly missed. A tired cliché in times like this, but in Carl Reiner’s case, it’s absolutely true. He is going to be greatly missed.”

Reiner directed such films as “Oh, God!” starring Burns and John Denver; “All of Me,” with Martin and Lily Tomlin; and therefore the 1970 comedy “Where’s Poppa?” His books include “Enter Laughing,” an autobiographical novel later adapted into a movie and Broadway show; and “My Anecdotal Life,” a memoir published in 2003. He recounted his childhood and artistic journey within the 2013 book, “I Remember Me.”

The Dick Van Dyke Show Carl Reiner

But many remember Reiner for “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” one among the foremost popular TV series of all time and a model of ensemble playing, physical comedy, and timeless, good-natured wit. It starred Van Dyke as a television comedy writer working for a demanding, eccentric boss (Reiner) and living together with his wife (Mary Tyler Moore in her first major TV role) and son.

“The Van Dyke show is perhaps the foremost thrilling of my accomplishments because that was very, very personal,” Reiner once said. “It was about me and my wife, living in New Rochelle and dealing on the Caesar show.”

The pilot, written by Reiner, starred himself as Rob Petrie and aired in July 1960. When the show was reworked (CBS executives worried Reiner would make the lead character seem too Jewish), Van Dyke was cast and therefore the program ran from 1961 to 1966. One famous fan, Welles, was known for rushing to his bedroom within the afternoon so he might be near a TV when the show was on.

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Carl Reiner shows

“Although it had been a collaborative effort,″ Van Dyke later wrote, “everything about the show stemmed from his (Reiner’s) endlessly and enviably fascinating, funny, and fertile brain and trickled right down to the remainder folks .”

The storyline had Petrie because the head writer for “The Alan Brady Show,” a comedy-variety series not unlike “Your Show of Shows,” during which Reiner, like Brady, was the egocentric star. Petrie’s fellow writers were character actors Morey Amsterdam as Buddy Sorrell and Rose Marie as Sally Rogers.

It was an early parody of the Caesar show, which might later be dramatized within the film “My Favorite Year” and Neil Simon’s play “Laughter on the 23rd Floor.”

Besides acting in and producing the “Van Dyke” series, Reiner wrote or co-wrote dozens of episodes. Although the show was the simplest of excellent clean fun, it wasn’t clean enough for network censors. Reiner often battled network officials over the sleeping arrangements of Rob and his wife; the Petries slept in twin beds. He wanted them to sleep during a bed.

Your Show of Shows

Reiner joined the classic comedy revue “Your Show of Shows” in 1950 after performing in Broadway plays. Much of Reiner’s early work came as a “second banana” — although, as Caesar once put it, “Such bananas don’t grow on trees.” He performed in sketches — satirizing everything from foreign films to rock ‘n’ roll — and added his talents to an article team that included Brooks, Simon, Allen, and Larry Gelbart.

“As second banana,” he told TV Guide, “I had an opportunity to try to almost everything a performer can ever get to try to to. If it came off well, I got all the applause. If it didn’t, the show was blamed.”

It was during the “Show of Shows” years that Reiner and Brooks started improvising skits.  Shows which became the idea for “The 2000 Year Old Man.” Reiner was the interviewer, Brooks the old man and witness to history.

Reiner: “Did you recognize Jesus?”

Brooks: “I knew Christ, Christ was a skinny lad, always wore sandals. Hung around with 12 other guys. They came within the store, nobody ever bought anything. Once they asked for water.”

Awards and Achivements

After the pair performed the routine at a celebration, Reiner said Steve Allen insisted they turn their banter into a record. The album, “2000 Years with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks,” appeared in 1960 and was the beginning of a million-selling franchise.


The duo won a Grammy in 1998 for his or her “The 2000 Year Old Man within the Year 2000″. Reiner won multiple Emmys for his television work. In 2000, he received the Kennedy Center Clemens Prize for Humor. When the audio system failed at the beginning of the ceremonies, Reiner called from the balcony, “Does anybody have four double-A batteries?”

Besides “All of Me,” Reiner directed Martin in “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” “The Man With Two Brains” and “The Jerk.”

Carl Reiner: Birth, Age, Family, Wife, Son, Marriage, Education

Carl Reiner was born in 1922, in NY City’s Bronx borough, one among two sons of Jewish immigrants. He grew up during a working-class neighborhood, where he learned to mimic voices and tell jokes. After high school, Reiner attended drama school, then joined a little theater group.

During war II, Reiner joined the military and toured in GI variety shows for a year and a half. Back out of uniform, he landed several stage roles, breaking through on Broadway in “Call Me Mister.”

Daughter, Wife, Son, Marriage, Education

He married his wife, Estelle, in 1943. Besides son Rob, the couple had another son, Lucas, a movie director, and a daughter, Sylvia, a psychoanalyst and author. Estelle Reiner, who died in 2008, had a little role in Rob Reiner’s “When Harry Met Sally…” — because the woman who overhears Meg Ryan’s ersatz ecstasy during a restaurant and says, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Carl Reiner’s greatest disappointment was “Bert Rigby, you are a Fool,” a 1989 musical he wrote and directed that starred Robert Lindsay. A British actor Reiner believed might be a replacement, Dick Van Dyke. The film flopped, and Reiner’s career as a director faded.

Reiner inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame. He remained involved in other entertainment projects. within the 1990s, he reprised the Alan Brady character for an episode of “Mad About You.”

Carl Reiner death was first reported Tuesday by the celebrity website TMZ.


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