Carl Reiner was a kind of pop-culture fixtures whose loss of life appears like a punch to the intestine à la Joan Rivers or Robin Williams, who had been additionally supposed to reside without end.
Reiner received rattling shut in that division — passing away peacefully Monday evening, at age 98, in his Beverly Hills dwelling. The Bronx-born genius author/actor/director’s lengthy laundry record of iconic comedy credit consists of early TV’s megahit “Your Show of Shows,” a witty, urbane sketch/comedy present hosted by Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca; “The 2,000 Year Old Man” with Mel Brooks; and “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” thought-about by many the perfect sitcom in TV historical past. He created the sequence and in addition performed toupeed, egomaniacal producer Alan Brady.
Later, he moved into semi-retirement however saved busy by writing books, producing and starring in an HBO documentary about nonagenarians known as “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast” (his motto) and staying lively on Twitter. His last tweet was posted simply hours earlier than he handed.
I interviewed “Mr. Reiner” (as I addressed him — no “Carl” for such a legend) a handful of instances over the previous 5 years and located him all the time gracious (he usually answered his personal cellphone) and keen to reminisce, even on unhappy events. Mr. Reiner took my name when his beloved “Dick Van Dyke Show” co-star Mary Tyler Moore died in January 2017 and, by his apparent unhappiness, he gamely recalled how particular she was (“She had an extreme grace,” he stated).
His fondness for Moore was obvious when, in 2018, I known as to discuss in regards to the now-colorized “Dick Van Dyke Show” episode, “Never Bathe on Saturday,” wherein Moore’s Laura Petrie received her toe caught in a resort bathtub spigot. That, Mr. Reiner stated, was primarily based on a real-life incident together with his beloved late spouse, Estelle. “She was playing with the drip” together with her toe, he recalled. He was nonetheless laughing about it practically 60 years later. Priceless.
I all the time discovered it touching that he and his comedy companion and greatest good friend, “2,000 Year Old Man” Mel Brooks, who turned 94 on Sunday, had been nonetheless shut to the very finish. The lifelong associates met on “Your Show of Shows” within the early ’50s and received collectively steadily, normally at Reiner’s dwelling, to kibitz and have one thing to eat. I can’t think about how Brooks is feeling proper now.
And let’s not overlook Mr. Reiner’s forays into appearing and writing; channel-surf sufficient, and also you’ll see him in films together with the 1966 comedy “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming” or “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (1963) or as Saul Bloom in George Clooney’s “Ocean’s Twelve” (2001) and “Ocean’s Thirteen” (2007). He additionally directed Steve Martin thrice in “The Jerk,” “All of Me” (with Lily Tomlin) and noir spoof “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.” His expertise can’t be measured in phrases.
When, in 2017, I interviewed Mr. Reiner, then 95, about “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast,” right here’s what he instructed me:
“Everybody must read the obits. And I have a little agenda now: I look at the date of people when they passed and say to each one, ‘I got you. I beat you.’ ”
Now, he’s joined all his family and friends members in Comedy Heaven. That should be a extremely enjoyable place.