Common Law Liens

Beloved Dick Van Dyke Show creator dead at 98!

on . Posted in Announcements

BEVERLY HILLS, Kalifornia (PNN) - June 30, 2020 - 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. He was 98.

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

He was 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.

Tributes poured in online, including from Steve Martin, who said, “Goodbye to my greatest mentor in movies and in life. Thank you, dear Carl.”

Actor Josh Gad called Reiner “one of the greatest comedic minds of all time”, and Sarah Silverman said,”his humanity was beyond compare.”

Actor Alan Alda tweeted, “His talent will live on for a long time, but the loss of his kindness and decency leaves a hole in our hearts.”

Billy Crystal added, “all of us in comedy have lost a giant.”

Reiner directed such films as Oh, God! starring George Burns and John Denver; All of Me, with Martin and Lily Tomlin; and the 1970 comedy Where’s Poppa? His books include 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 TV 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 son.

“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.”

The pilot, written by Reiner, starred himself as Rob Petrie, and aired in July 1960. When the show was reworked (CBS executives worried Reiner would make the lead character seem too Jewish), Van Dyke was cast and the program ran from 1961 to 1966. One famous fan, Orson Welles, was known for rushing to his bedroom in the afternoon so he could be near a TV when the show was on.

“Although it was a collaborative effort,″ Van Dyke later wrote, ”everything about the show stemmed from his (Reiner’s) endlessly and enviably fascinating, funny, and fertile brain and trickled down to the rest of us.”

The story line had Petrie as the head writer for “The Alan Brady Show,” a comedy-variety series not unlike Your Show of Shows, in which Reiner, as Brady, was the egocentric star. Petrie’s fellow writers were character actors Morey Amsterdam as Buddy Sorrell and Rose Marie as Sally Rogers.

It was an early parody of the Caesar show, which would later be dramatized in the film My Favorite Year and Neil Simon’s play Laughter on the 23rd Floor.

Besides acting in and producing the Van Dyke series, Reiner wrote or co-wrote dozens of episodes. Although the show was the best of good clean fun, it wasn’t clean enough for network censors. Reiner often battled network officials over the sleeping arrangements of Rob and his wife; the Petries slept in twin beds. He wanted them to sleep in a double bed.

Reiner joined the classic comedy revue Your Show of Shows in 1950 after performing in Broadway plays. Much of Reiner’s early work came as a “second banana” - although, as Caesar once put it, “Such bananas don’t grow on trees.” He performed in sketches - satirizing everything from foreign films to rock ‘n’ roll - and added his talents to a writing team that included Brooks, Simon, Woody Allen, and Larry Gelbart.

“As second banana,” he told TV Guide, “I had a chance to do just about everything a performer can ever get to do. If it came off well, I got all the applause. If it didn’t, the show was blamed.”

It was during the Show of Shows years that Reiner and Brooks started improvising skits that became the basis for The 2000 Year Old Man. Reiner was the interviewer, Brooks the old man and witness to history.

Reiner: “Did you know Jesus?”

Brooks: “I knew Christ, Christ was a thin lad, always wore sandals. Hung around with 12 other guys. They came in the store, no one ever bought anything. Once they asked for water.”

After the pair performed the routine at a party, Reiner said Steve Allen insisted they turn their banter into a record. The album, 2000 Years with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, appeared in 1960 and was the start of a million-selling franchise.

The duo won a Grammy in 1998 for their The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000 and Reiner won multiple Emmys for his television work. In 2000, he received the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor. When the sound system failed at the start of the ceremonies, Reiner called from the balcony, “Does anybody have four double-A batteries?”

Besides All of Me, Reiner directed Martin in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, The Man With Two Brains and The Jerk.

Reiner was the father of actor-director Rob Reiner, who starred as Archie Bunker’s son-in-law on All in the Family and directed When Harry Met Sally. Rob Reiner said in a tweet Tuesday that his “heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.”

Carl Reiner was born in 1922 in New York City’s Bronx borough, one of two sons of Jewish immigrants. He grew up in a working-class neighborhood where he learned to mimic voices and tell jokes. After high school, Reiner attended drama school, then joined a small theater group.

During World War II, Reiner joined the Army and toured in GI variety shows for a year and a half. Back out of uniform, he landed several stage roles, breaking through on Broadway in Call Me Mister.

He married his wife, Estelle, in 1943. Besides son Rob, the couple had another son, Lucas, a film director, and a daughter, Sylvia, a psychoanalyst and author. Estelle Reiner, who died in 2008, had a small role in Rob Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally - as the woman who overhears Meg Ryan play-acting in a restaurant and says, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Carl Reiner’s greatest disappointment was Bert Rigby, You’re a Fool, a 1989 musical he wrote and directed that starred Robert Lindsay, a British actor Reiner believed could be a new Dick Van Dyke. The film flopped, and Reiner’s career as a director faded.

Reiner, inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame, remained involved in other entertainment projects. In the 1990s, he reprised the Alan Brady character for an episode of Mad About You.

His death was first reported Tuesday by the celebrity website TMZ.

Eulogies

Eulogy for an Angel
1992-Dec. 20, 2005

Freedom
2003-2018

Freedom sm

My Father
1918-2010

brents dad

Dr. Stan Dale
1929-2007

stan dale

A. Solzhenitsyn
1918-2008

solzhenitsyn

Patrick McGoohan
1928-2009

mcgoohan

Joseph A. Stack
1956-2010

Bill Walsh
1931-2007

Walter Cronkite
1916-2009

Eustace Mullins
1923-2010

Paul Harvey
1918-2009

Don Harkins
1963-2009

Joan Veon
1949-2010

David Nolan
1943-2010

Derry Brownfield
1932-2011

Leroy Schweitzer
1938-2011

Vaclav Havel
1936-2011

Andrew Breitbart
1969-2012

Dick Clark
1929-2012

Bob Chapman
1935-2012

Ray Bradbury
1920-2012

Tommy Cryer
1949-2012

Andy Griffith
1926-2012

Phyllis Diller
1917-2012

Larry Dever
1926-2012

Brian J. Chapman
1975-2012

Annette Funnicello
1942-2012

Margaret Thatcher
1925-2012

Richie Havens
1941-2013

Jack McLamb
1944-2014

James Traficant
1941-2014

jim traficant

Dr. Stan Monteith
1929-2014

stan montieth

Leonard Nimoy
1931-2015

Leonard Nimoy

Stan Solomon
1944-2015

Stan Solomon

B. B. King
1926-2015

BB King

Irwin Schiff
1928-2015

Irwin Schiff

DAVID BOWIE
1947-2016

David Bowie

Muhammad Ali
1942-2016

Muhammed Ali

GENE WILDER
1933-2016

gene wilder

phyllis schlafly
1924-2016

phylis schafly

John Glenn
1921-2016

John Glenn

Charles Weisman
1954-2016

Charles Weisman

Carrie Fisher
1956-2016

Carrie Fisher

Debbie Reynolds
1932-2016

Debbie Reynolds

Roger Moore
1917-2017

Roger Moore

Adam West
1928-2017

Adam West

JERRY LEWIS
1926-2017

jerry lewis

HUGH HEFNER
1926-2017

Hugh Hefner

PROF. STEPHEN HAWKING
1942-2018

Hugh Hefner 

ART BELL
1945-2018

Art Bell

DWIGHT CLARK
1947-2018

dwight clark

CARL MILLER
1952-2017

Carl Miller

HARLAN ELLISON
1934-2018

Harlan Ellison

STAN LEE
1922-2018

stan lee

CARL REINER
1922-2020

Carl Reiner