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Film & TV Legend Carl Reiner Passes Away At 98

June 30, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Carl Reiner Ocean's Twelve

The film and television world has lost another legend, as Carl Reiner has passed away. Rob Reiner announced on Twitter on Tuesday morning that his father, who is known for everything from The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Jerk to the Ocean’s Eleven franchise, passed away on Monday night. Variety has confirmed that he died of natural causes. He was 98 years old.

Reiner had a truly lengthy career in the entertainment business that started all the way back in the late 1940s with a career on Broadway, though he is best known for his work in television and film. That began with roles on The Fashion Story in 1948 and The Fifty-Fourth Street Revue in 1949. He joined Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows in 1950, and proceeded to move onto Caesar’s Hour in 1954 for which he also served as a writer alongside the likes of Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen and others. Those shows proved incredibly influential and influenced the sketch comedy format now seen with the likes of Saturday Night Live. Reiner would go on to team with Brooks on The Steve Allen Show, and their teaming produced the famous 2000 Year Old Man routine that would help solidify Brooks as a comedic performer.

Reiner would reach new heights with The Dick Van Dyke Show, which he created originally for himself as The Head of the Family before the network decided to recast and retitle it. The series would earn Reiner five Emmy Award wins (he also won two for Caesar’s Hour). He would continue to have a presence on TV for decades, appearing in guest appearances and some supporting roles throughout the 1970s and then the 1990s forward; he won another Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series in 1967 for The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner Special and a final one for Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1995 for Mad About You.

Reiner’s career was by no means limited to television. He directed 15 films, including the Steve Martin classics The Jerk, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, The Man with Two Brains, and All Of Me. He also directed the George Burns comedy Oh, God! and 1985’s John Candy comedy Summer Rental. He had writing credits on Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid and The Man with Two Brains as well, and appeared on both films.

Reiner received a new spotlight on the big screen in the 2000s when he co-starred as con artist Saul Bloom in all three George Clooney-fronted Ocean’s Eleven films. His last film role was a voice appearance in last year’s Toy Story 4 as Carl Reineroceros, a role he reprised for the Pixar short Forky Asks A Question.

On behalf of 411, our condolences to the family, friends and legion of fans of Mr. Reiner. The screen would be a much less funny place without him.

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Carl Reiner, Jeremy Thomas