Carl Reiner: US comedy star dies at 98

Carla Harmon
June 30, 2020

Carl Reiner sparked a comedy partnership with Mel Brooks in 1960, and the two found fame as a duo on The Steve Allen Show, where they became well known for their bit 2,000 Year Old Man.

Carl Reiner has passed away.

Inspired by his experiences as a comedy writer for the often hard Caesar, Reiner created - and produced and wrote - the acclaimed The Dick Van Dyke show, a smart and sophisticated sitcom that paired Van Dyke, as the Reiner stand-in, and a newcomer named Mary Tyler Moore as his wife. During his military service, after being drafted into the Army Air Forces during World War II, Reiner would begin his acting career by working in Special Services and performing around the Pacific theater, entertaining troops in Hawaii, Guam, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima.

Aside from her professional life, Reiner had a fulfilling personal life as well.

He made stars out of his leading cast in The Dick Van Dyke Show (his directorial debut) when the network preferred to keep him behind the camera rather than on screen. He also co-starred on the sitcom as the egocentric Alan Brady. 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.

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?". His final screen role came in last year's Toy Story 4, in a brief voice cameo as Bonnie's forgotten dinosaur toy "Carl Reineroceros", joined by "Chairol Burnett", "Melephant Brooks", and "Bitey White' (Carol Burnett, Mel Brooks, and Betty White respectively)".

He later appeared as an elderly con man in the 2001 remake of Ocean's Eleven.

In recent years, Reiner kept busy with a pair of recurring roles on Hot in Cleveland (as Elka's on-again/off-again boyfriend Max) and Two and a Half Men (as Evelyn's nonagenarian beau Marty Pepper).

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. That documentary and If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast are both available on HBO and HBO Max right now.

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