Carl Reiner, RIP

Comedy legend passes away at 98

Carl Reiner, Hollywood legend and director of comedy classics like The Jerk and Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, died yesterday in Los Angeles of natural causes at age 98. Tributes to Reiner filled Twitter today as the modern entertainment business, which he was so integral in shaping, processed the news. A stunning array of tributes arrived from dignitaries in politics, the media, and entertainment.

“Goodbye to my greatest mentor in movies and in life,” wrote Steve Martin.

“Growing up, Carl was like a second dad to me,” said Albert Brooks.  “He was the greatest. Not just as a comic legend but as a man. There was no one else this funny and this nice.”

Reiner’s career spanned modern American entertainment. He was a staff writer and performer on Sid Caesar’s Your Show Of Shows in the 1950s. That’s where he met his lifelong friend and comedy partner Mel Brooks, who he partnered with on “The 2000-Year-Old Man,” one of the seminal bits of modern comedy.

 

Reiner drew on his experiences at Your Show Of Shows to create The Dick Van Dyke show, one of the great all-time TV sitcoms. He played Alan Brady, a direct parody of Sid Caesar.

 

Reiner’s collaborations with Steve Martin led to some of movie comedy’s most unforgettable scenes, like this one from The Jerk.

 

Always active in liberal political causes, in the last decade of his life, Reiner became a full-on activist. His enduring friendship with Brooks, with whom he watched Jeopardy! every day, became a source of inspiration to millions. He amassed more than 360,000 followers on Twitter for his relentless and passionate attacks on Donald Trump’s Presidency. The day before he died, he posted a photo of himself, his daughter, and Mel Brooks, all wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts.

Yesterday, before he passed, Reiner posted two anti-Trump tweets, but then closed out his life with a three-tweet remembrance in praise of Noel Coward.

Carl Reiner, RIP.

 

Carl Reiner. Illustration by Drew Friedman.

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Neal Pollack

Book and Film Globe Editor in Chief Neal Pollack is the author of 11 semi-bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction, including the memoirs Alternadad and Stretch, the novels Repeat and Downward-Facing Death, and the cult classic The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature. He's written articles and humor for every English-language publication except The New Yorker. Neal lives in Austin, Texas, and is a three-time Jeopardy! champion.

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