Director, comedian Carl Reiner dies
by Leslie Beggs
Posted 6/30/20, 11:37 am
Comedy legend Carl Reiner, the creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show, died on Monday at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 98.
After working with comedian Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows in the 1950s, Reiner wrote the first 13 episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show with plans to play the lead role himself. His own life as a devoted family man living in New Rochelle, N.Y., and working as a comedy writer in New York City inspired the story, which his wife encouraged him to write. Producers picked up the sitcom but with a different lead actor: Dick Van Dyke. Reiner said he was grateful to executive producer Sheldon Leonard “for telling me I was a producer when I thought I was an actor.” The show aired from 1961 to 1966 and won 15 Emmys, including five for Reiner for writing and producing.
What else was he known for? He acted in The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and the latest Oceans Eleven movies. His directorial credits included Oh, God! starring George Burns and All of Me with Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin. He was married to his wife, Estelle, for 64 years until her death in 2008. They had three children who survive them: actor-director Rob, playwright-poet Sylvia, and actor-director Lucas.
Dig deeper: Read Lynde Langdon’s obituary of Mary Tyler Moore, the actress who played the role inspired by Reiner’s wife on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
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Leslie is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute’s mid-career course.