His best movies, performances, quotes

His best movies, performances, quotes

Carl Reiner’s legendary, seven-decade-long career in television, film, books and Broadway came to an end Monday when he died at his home in Beverly Hills.

But the Bronx-born 98-year-old’s legacy will live on forever.

Born on March 20, 1922, to Jewish immigrants from Austria and Romania, Reiner, a true Renaissance man, made a permanent imprint on American comedy.

The nine-time Emmy-winning and Grammy-winning entertainment icon acted in over 40 films, held countless TV roles – including the part of TV variety show host Alan Brady on the “The Dick Van Dyke Show” — directed 15 movies, and wrote more than 20 books, among them memoirs and children’s stories.

Here are some of the best moments in an iconic career.

Classic live TV

In 1950, at the age of 28, Reiner got his big showbiz break as Sid Caesar’s second banana in the television sketch-comedy “Your Show of Shows.” It boasted a legendary writing staff, including future playwright Neil Simon and Mel Brooks.

He wrote for and appeared on “Your Shows of Shows,” one of early TV’s biggest hits. The witty, sophisticated sketch-comedy show starred Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca from 1950-54. That’s where he met Mel Brooks. He also wrote for and appeared on the followup, “Caesar’s Hour,” from 1954-57.

“Honestly, the only reason I remember for wanting to be an actor is that I wanted to sleep late. I swear that’s true. Since I was a kid I used to say, ‘I’m going into a field where I can sleep late,’” the veteran actor-director-producer-writer told The Post in 1958.

“Somebody suggested dramatic school. So I went,” Reiner said at the time. “Sleeping late is always on my mind.”

Sketch comedy

After “Your Show of Shows” ended, Reiner and Brooks, his lifelong pal, would go on to make audiences laugh their socks off throughout the 1960s with their hysterical “2000-Year-Old Man” routine, in which Reiner played the interviewer and straight man to Brooks’ world’s oldest man character.

Decades later, the classic skit earned them both a Grammy for Best Spoken Comedy Album in 1999.

Sitcom royalty

Soon after “Your Show of Shows” ended in 1954, sketch comedy show “Caesar’s Hour” kicked off, and Reiner won his first Emmy in 1957 for Best Supporting Performance by an Actor for the program. He won another Emmy for the show in 1958.

Shortly after, Reiner — at the brink of what he has said was his proudest moment — wrote and shot the TV pilot “Head of the Family,” in 1960. It starred himself as the original fictional character of Rob Petrie and was based on his life.

Never having taken on a TV script before, Reiner told The Post in 1959, “I wondered what I could possibly write about,” adding that his wife Estelle was the one who advocated for him to write a situational comedy script for television.

“The idea came to me full bloom the next day while I was driving into the city. I almost smashed up the car,” said Reiner. “There were only two things I know enough about to base a series on, show business and home life.”

A driven Reiner sat down and wrote 13 episodes for “Head of the Family” in six weeks. Ultimately, the CBS network wound up turning down the series.

Reiner’s agent, upset that there were 13 episodes of “gold” lying on his desk, put him in touch with late producers Sheldon Leonard and Danny Thomas who expressed interest in the tanked show.

“I said, ‘Fellas, I don’t want to fail with the same material twice. And Sheldon said to me…‘You won’t fail because we’ll get a better actor to play you,’ ” Reiner recounted on Conan O’Brien’s talk show “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” in 2013.

Reiner’s show was re-cast and retitled, debuting in 1961 as “The Dick Van Dyke Show” starring Dick Van Dyke as Petrie and Mary Tyler Moore.


The game-changing show — which turned Van Dyke and Moore into household names — had a successful five-year run on CBS from 1961 to 1966, netting Reiner five Emmy awards, including three for writing the series.

Big screen comedies

A year after “The Dick Van Dyke Show” ended, Reiner made his directorial debut in film with the 1967 flick “Enter Laughing” based off his book, which was also adapted as a Broadway play.

Next up, he helmed the 1970 feature comedy “Where’s Poppa?” starring George Segal before returning to TV with “The New Dick Van Dyke Show,” which aired on CBS from 1971 to 1974.

The comedian of comedians vowed to never again work for CBS in 1973 after the network refused to air an episode over a love-making scene. Reiner had called the cancelled episode “honest, tender and meaningful,” according to a 1973 New York Times article.

Reiner has said that he almost walked from “The Dick Van Dyke Show” in its first season over censorship. “I was ready to quit,” Reiner said on “Tom Green Live!” in 2014. “I didn’t have F-you money then or I would have quit.”

The Reiner-directed box office hit, “Oh, God!” starring George Burns came out in 1977.

“As a kid that’s all we ever thought of when we were living in the Bronx . . . that we would some day make a motion picture,” Reiner told The Post in 1959.

Among the many highlights of Reiner’s storied career were directing Steve Martin in the 1979 film “The Jerk,” the 1982 flick “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” “The Man with Two Brains” in 1983, and the 1984 movie “All of Me.” He also co-starred as con artist Saul Bloom in the 2001 blockbuster heist-thriller “Ocean’s Eleven,” as well as its sequels.

Turning the page

In 1953, Reiner penned his first semi-autobiographical novel “Enter Laughing.”

In his later years, an unstoppable Reiner proved he remained sharp as a tack, writing book after book including the novel “NNNNN” in 2006, children’s book “Tell me a Scary Story – But Not Too Scary” in 2003, “I Just Remembered” in 2014, “Too Busy to Die” in 2017, and “The Downing of Trump,” in 2018.

He never stopped writing — keeping up with digital media trends right up until the end.

The legend posted the following poignant tweet on June 27: “Nothing pleases me more than knowing that I have lived the best life possible by having met & marrying the gifted Estelle (Stella) Lebost—who partnered with me in bringing Rob, Annie & Lucas Reiner into to this needy & evolving world.”

About the author

Vicky Sequeira

Vicky Sequeira

With more than 6 years of experience working as a media professional, Vicky flaunts prowess in bringing the juicy tit-bits from the entertainment industry for the readers of News Brig.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *