RIP to Revered Comedian and Overall Mensch Carl Reiner

Revered Comedian, Carl Reiner passes away at the age of 98

Tami Goveia

AfterBuzz TV Host & Writer
Posted On: July 1st, 2020 9:32 pm pst

Maria Menounos
Keven Undergaro
AfterBuzz TV Founders

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.

Everybody wants to laugh – you know that. They need to laugh… people need to laugh.

~Carl Reiner

There’s an eerie silence in the entertainment world today. One of the most prolific comedy voices in the industry has decided enough already. 

Carl Reiner, at the age of 98, has passed away. His son, filmmaker and actor Rob Reiner posted on Twitter: “Last night my dad passed away. As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.”

If you are a part of the entertainment industry or love watching movies and tv and don’t know who Carl Reiner is, shame on you. Now that the shaming is through, let’s dive into the man, the laughter, the legend

Credit: Dick Van Dyke Show

Carl Reiner in a 1964 episode of “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” In addition to creating and producing the show, Mr. Reiner made occasional appearances as Alan Brady, the comedian for whom the Van Dyke character worked. Credit…CBS, via Getty Images.

Born in the Bronx in 1922, Carl Reiner was an American actor, comedian, director, publisher, and screenwriter. He started out wanting to be a film and stage actor however, it was his foray into the golden age of a newer medium called television that would turn the world of television and comedy upside down. From 1950 -1954 Reiner was hired onto NBC’s variety show Your Show of Shows featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. Your Show of Shows is ranked in the top 40 of TV Guide’s 60 Best Series of All Time, particularly for its groundbreaking expansion of the variety genre by introducing the format of situation comedies (sitcoms). Writers for the series included Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Selma Diamond, Danny Simon, Mel Tolkin, Michael Stewart, Lucille Kallen, Joseph Stein, Tony Webster, and Carl Reiner who, though an actor on the show, also worked with the writers.

“I became a writer because of that room,” he recalled. “I’d say something and somebody would yell: ‘What do you know? You’re not a writer.’ So I became a writer.”

His next bit of brilliance would be the creation of the 2000 year old Man, an act that he and Mel Brooks would perform at parties. 

“I turned to Mel and I said, ‘Here’s a man who was actually seen at the crucifixion 2,000 years ago,” he told The New York Times in 2009, “and his first words were ‘Oh, boy.’” 

Mr. Brooks was the star of the largely improvised routines, reflecting on what it was like to be two millenniums old (none of his thousands of children ever visited) and reminiscing about historical figures like Sigmund Freud (“He was a good basketball player; very few people know that”) and Shakespeare (“He had the worst penmanship I ever saw in my life”). But it was Mr. Reiner who came up with the questions that lit Mr. Brooks’s comedic fuse.” 

Credit New York Times ~ Robert Berkvist and Peter Keepnews

Reiner and Brooks would go on to create five 2000 Year Old Man comedy albums that would garnish them Emmys, and which are considered comedic gold by the world of comedy.

One of my personal all-time favorite television shows would be created by Carl Reiner in 1960. The Dick Van Dyke Show is one of the most celebrated sitcoms in television history. 

Reiner told The Los Angeles Times in 1993: “‘The Van Dyke Show’ is probably the most thrilling of my accomplishments because that was very, very personal, the most personal thing I’ve done. Because it was about me and my wife, living in New Rochelle and working on the Sid Caesar show.”

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All hail Carl Reiner ! #rip #thedickvandykeshow

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It’s where his directing career began, and in a funny twist, Carl Reiner was originally cast as the lead. When the pilot was filmed it was an abysmal bomb. 

“The original version, “Head of the Family,” starred Reiner as a comedy writer who commutes to New York from his suburban family life. It didn’t work, but producer Sheldon Leonard had an idea that saved it – 

“(He told me), ‘We’ll get a better actor to play you.’ And he suggested Dick Van Dyke,” Reiner told CBS News.”

Credit: Todd Leopold and Lisa Respers France, CNN

He continued directing, and his list grew and grew: The Comic (1969), starring Van Dyke; Where’s Poppa? (1970), starring George Segal and Ruth Gordon; Oh, God! starring George Burns and John Denver; and four films starring Steve Martin — The Jerk (1979), “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” (1982), “The Man With Two Brains” (1983) and “All of Me” (1984). The last film he directed was 1997’s “That Old Feeling,” with Bette Midler and Dennis Farina.

His work was recognized by his peers, and in 2000, by the Kennedy Center, which awarded him the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. He was the third recipient, after Richard Pryor and Jonathan Winters.

The key to longevity is to interact with other people. 

~Carl Reiner

What is perhaps most poignant to me was his decades long friendship with Mel Brooks. The gentlemen and wives were a close foursome, and when Mel Brooks’ wife, Ann Bancroft passed away in 2005 and then Carl Reiner’s wife, Estella passed in 2008, the two men dined with one another on a daily basis. Their ritual? Dinner, Jeopardy, and a movie. 

Showers of love for Carl Reiner and what he meant to people have flooded social media:

Steve martin:

“Goodbye to my greatest mentor in movies and in life. Thank you, dear Carl.”

Below is an interview captured in April of this year with Ben Mankiewicz just as Covid hit, and the two men were forced into separation, none-the-less maintaining their humor while imparting wisdom onto the masses:

And how did this genius keep things in perspective?

“First thing in the morning, before I have coffee, I read the obits,” he told CBS News in 2015. “If I’m not in it, I’ll have breakfast.”

Good night, dear man. No words can accurately describe how beautiful a soul you were. May this be a November to remember, and though you were an atheist, here’s hoping we’ll be toasting the heavens and celebrating with you on election day.

About The Author:

Tami Goveia is a producer, writer and entertainment host for AfterbuzzTV. Classic film and television are her passion, napping is her indulgence and saving all rescues is her mission.

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence

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