Hollywood Says Goodbye to Comedy Legend Carl Reiner

The director behind ’The Jerk’ and cocreator of ’The Dick Van Dyke Show’ was 98

Legendary comedic actor, writer, and director Carl Reiner passed away Monday night at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 98 years old.

Carl Reiner first became a household name as part of Sid Caesar’s comedy troupe, then made his mark behind the camera as creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show, on which he played Alan Brady of the show’s fictitious The Alan Brady Show; Van Dyke’s character, Rob Petrie, was based on Reiner.

Over the years, Reiner continued to work behind the camera, directing a slew of Steve Martin’s funniest films, including The Jerk, All of Me, and Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, which he also wrote.

The legendary straight man—first to Caesar, then to lifelong friend Mel Brooks—was an active Twitter presence, often espousing progressive ideals and referring to Donald Trump as “our Russian-installed puppet president.” Just days before his passing, he was pictured wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt alongside daughter Annie Reiner and Brooks, who turned 94 last week. In the late 1960s, Reiner was involved in a coalition of Hollywood actors that supported the Poor People’s Campaign, which brought a six-week-long protest to the National Mall in the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.


Early Tuesday morning, son Rob tweeted, “Last night my dad passed away. As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.” Other celebrities also posted remembrances. Bette Midler, who was directed by Reiner in the 1997 movie That Old Feeling, said, “I worked with him, loved him, and consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world to have once attended lunch with his hilarious, guarrulous gang…”

Holly Robinson Peete remembered Reiner breaking the ice to soothe her nerves during her first Tonight Show appearance in 1987, quipping, “If you have legs like that, you should never be nervous!”

Child star turned legendary director Ron Howard called Reiner a “brilliant comedy talent w/heart & intellect whether writing, directing, producing or performing,” adding, “Try estimating how many times in your life this fella’s work made you laugh. I count well over 3k for me & growing. Thank you, Carl.”

Steve Martin kept his memorial short and sweet, saying, “Goodbye to my greatest mentor in movies and in life. Thank you, dear Carl.”