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Through decades of TV and movie projects that saw him on either side of the camera, legendary comedian Carl Reiner built a resume of work that was as impressive as it was hysterical. Which makes today’s news all the sadder, as it’s been reported that Reiner, the creator of the TV sitcom landmark The Dick Van Dyke Show, has died at the age of 98.
A writing, directing, and acting triple threat, TMZ reported Carl Reiner’s death this morning, as he had passed last night. It was stated that he was surrounded by his family in his home.
Last heard as the voice of the aptly named Carl Reineroceros in Disney’s Toy Story 4 and the spinoff series Forky Asks A Question, Reiner was a talent that could reach across generational boundaries. It was a skill that saw him direct several Steve Martin films through the ‘70s and ‘80s, like The Man with Two Brains, The Lonely Guy, and most famously The Jerk. Though more modern audiences may remember him for his role as Saul Bloom, one of the Ocean’s Eleven crew that ran in the new variant of Danny Ocean’s exploits.
But for fans of classic TV comedy, The Dick Van Dyke Show was his grand claim to fame. His role of Rob Petrie’s imposing boss Alan Brady was the lynchpin to the work he’d done as the show’s creator, as well as one of its writers. With a toupee obsession that ran as deep as his comedic talent, Reiner was the perfect foil to the trio of writers Dick Van Dyke’s timeless character would lead on a weekly basis.
Carl Reiner was also best friends with comedy legend Mel Brooks, as the two had collaborated quite frequently with their comedy bit involving The 2000 Year Old Man. Even to this day, before the coronavirus pandemic prevented them from doing so, Reiner and Brooks would meet nightly to watch Jeopardy and have dinner together. When your respective resumes write the book on comedic prowess for decades, and that’s one of the greatest joys you can experience in life, you know you’ve made the right decisions.
In more recent years, Carl Reiner was prolific as a voice artist, with roles on shows like Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers, as well as the animated film Duck Duck Goose. That being said, it will always be hard to peg Mr. Reiner into any sort of specific niche, as he wandered so freely through it all.
He is survived by three children, including fellow triple-threat Rob Reiner, as well as six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Our sincerest condolences go out to Carl Reiner’s surviving family members and friends, as his truly luminary comedic timing and warmth will be missed.