Comedic legend Carl Reiner dies at 98
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Vale, Carl

Comedic legend Carl Reiner dies at 98

Star of ‘The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming,’ Mel Brooks’ friend and foil, writer, director, and father of Rob, dies of natural causes at his Beverly Hills home.

Carl Reiner shows holds two Emmy statuettes presented to him as best comedy writer for the "Dick Van Dyke Show," during the annual Emmy Awards presentation in Los Angeles, on May 26, 1963.
Carl Reiner shows holds two Emmy statuettes presented to him as best comedy writer for the "Dick Van Dyke Show," during the annual Emmy Awards presentation in Los Angeles, on May 26, 1963.

Until the last day of his life, Carl Reiner was tweeting about some of his favourite topics: politics, comedy and the twists and turns he experienced over decades as one of the world’s greatest living funnymen.

Reiner died Monday at 98, hours after reiterating his dismay that Donald Trump had become president, days after posing with his daughter Annie and longtime friend Mel Brooks in Black Lives Matter shirts and 70 years after his first television appearance.

The Bronx native, the son of Jewish immigrant parents, called himself a “Jewish atheist” and said his faith in God had ended with the Holocaust.

After serving in the US Army during World War II, Reiner began a long and varied show business career.

In the infancy of television, he was a performer and writer on “Your Show of Shows” and “Caesar’s Hour.” In the 1960s he created “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” which won numerous Emmy Awards, including for himself as a writer. Along the way he formed a comedy duo with Brooks that was highlighted in their album the “2000 Year Old Man.” Reiner wrote screenplays for Steve Martin films including “The Jerk” and, in his later years, voiced characters in animated films.

In a 2015 documentary about longevity that Reiner hosted, he offered his own secrets for long life.

Mel Brooks, left, stands with Carl Reiner during Brooks’ hand and footprint ceremony on the 40th anniversary of the movie “Young Frankenstein,” in Los Angeles, on September 8, 2014.

“The key to longevity,” he said, “is to interact with other people.”

Reiner and Brooks remained close friends into their 90s, often eating dinner together, as an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” showed.

In the documentary, Reiner also offered insight into what made him funny.

“I think it’s partly your genes,” he said. “Also, it’s your environment. Also, if you have a funny bone; if you grew up in a family with a sense of humour.”

Carl Reiner, left, and his son Rob Reiner pose together following their hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, on April 7, 2017.

Reiner’s son Rob also would go on to have a distinguished career as an actor, notably in the groundbreaking TV comedy “All in the Family,” and as a director of such films as “When Harry Met Sally” and “A Few Good Men.”

Reiner’s wife of 64 years, Estelle, died in 2008. Along with Rob and Annie, he is survived by a son Lucas, their children and their children’s children.

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