BEVERLY HILLS — Writer, actor, director, producer, and comedian Carl Reiner who was one of the creators for the “The Dick Van Dyke Show” died at the age of 98 in his house in Beverly Hills on June 29 from natural causes.
His son, Rob Reiner, who is also actor, writer, director and Oscar-nominated producer, released the news in a tweet on June 30, stating “Last night my dad passed away. As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.”
Carl Reiner was born in the Bronx, New York in 1922, and he served as a corporal in World War II. Reiner’s career took off when he starred as a performer and writer on Caesar’s live variety programs Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour alongside Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Larry Gelbart, Neil Simon and Howard Morris among others.
Reiner and Brooks created a routine known as “The 2000-Year-Old Man” that expanded into a series of 5 comedy albums and a 1975 animated television special. The comedy routine was a huge success, winning them a Grammy award in 1999 for best comedy album. A 1967 performance of the skit can be viewed here.
“The Dick Van Dyke Show” aired for five seasons from October 1961 to June 1966, winning Reiner five Emmys.
Van Dyke told David Steinberg on Showtime’s Inside Comedy that “Carl Reiner is the best writer in the world. He understood everyone’s way of speaking, the cadence, the intonation, everything. He wrote for everyone the way they talked. I didn’t have to act; all I had to do was read the lines. He was that good.”
In 2001, Reiner also played con man Saul Bloom in Steven Soderbergh’s Oceans Eleven alongside George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
Reiner married singer Estelle Lebost on December 24, 1943 when he was 21 and she was 29. They were married for 64 years until she died on October 25, 2008 at age 94. The two are succeeded by their three children: Rob, Annie, and Lucas Reiner.
In 2000, Reiner was the third person to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. At the event, Jerry Seinfeld praised Reiner, saying, “I’m sorry, but this guy [Twain] is not touching Carl Reiner. Twain would be working to type script changes for Carl Reiner. Twain should be so lucky to be here today so he could get the Carl Reiner Prize.”
Celebrities are honoring Reiner’s legacy on social media.
Jason Alexander who played George Costanza on Seinfeld tweeted, “Carl Reiner was comedy genius. Often that genius made other funny people even funnier. But give him a stage and he could spin laughter out of any moment. I watched him do it time and again. His contributions to comedy are eternal. And a lovely man, as well. #ripCarlReiner”
Comedian Sarah Silverman tweeted, “So sad to hear about @carlreiner Not only did he make my favorite TV& movies (see:Where’s Poppa) but his humanity was beyond compare. His heart was so full of love. Never left his house empty handed- book, space pen, Swiss Army knife. RIP to a man that embodies the word mensch.”