Veteran TV performer, writer and director Carl Reiner dies aged 98

Veteran TV performer, writer and director Carl Reiner dies aged 98

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

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

One of show business’ best liked men, the tall, bald Reiner was a welcome face on the small and silver screens, in Caesar’s 1950s troupe, as the snarling, toupee-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.

In recent years, he was part of the roguish gang in the Ocean’s Eleven movies starring George Clooney and appeared in documentaries including Broadway: Beyond The Golden Age and If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast.

Films he directed included Oh, God! starring George Burns and John Denver; All Of Me, with Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin; and the 1970 comedy Where’s Poppa?

Carl Reiner, left, and his son Rob Reiner (Chris Pizzello/AP)
Carl Reiner, left, and his son Rob Reiner (Chris Pizzello/AP)

He was especially proud of his books, including Enter Laughing, an autobiographical novel later adapted into a film and Broadway show; and My Anecdotal Life, a memoir published in 2003.

He recounted his childhood and creative journey in the 2013 book, I Remember Me.

But many remember Reiner for The Dick Van Dyke Show, one of the most popular television 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 with his wife (Mary Tyler Moore in her first major TV role) and young son in suburban New Rochelle, New York.

“The Van Dyke show is probably the most 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 working on the Sid Caesar show.”

Reiner is the father of actor-director Rob Reiner.

His death was first reported Tuesday by celebrity website TMZ.


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