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Carl Reiner

Carl Reiner
Reiner at a ceremony for Jon Cryer on September 19, 2011
Born (1922-03-20) March 20, 1922 (age 93)
The Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Years active 1948–present
Spouse Estelle Reiner (1943–2008; her death)
Children Rob Reiner
Lucas Reiner (sons)
Annie Reiner (daughter)
Parent(s) Irving Reiner
Bessie Reiner
Relative(s) Tracy Reiner (granddaughter)

Carl Reiner (born March 20, 1922)[1] is an American stand-up comedian, actor, director, producer, writer, and singer. He is best known for his role in a comedy duo with Mel Brooks. He is also known for his role on Your Show of Shows, as Alan Brady on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Saul Bloom in the Oceans Trilogy, as the voice of Shep in Good Boy!, and the voice of Sarmoti in Father of the Pride. Reiner has won 9 Emmy Awards[2][3] and one Grammy Award during his career.

Early life

Reiner was born on March 20, 1922 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, the son of Bessie (née Mathias) and Irving Reiner, a watchmaker.[4] His parents were Jewish immigrants, his father from Romania and his mother from Austria.[5] At age 16, his older brother Charlie read in the New York Daily News about a free dramatic workshop being put on by the Works Progress Administration and told him about it. His uncle Harry Mathias was the first entertainer in his family.[6] He had been working as a machinist repairing sewing machines. He credits Charlie with changing his career plans.[7] His older brother Charlie served in the 9th Division's 37th Infantry at 11 major World War II battles and had his ashes buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[8][9] During World War II, Reiner served in the United States Army in a touring troupe of performers.[10]


File:Carl Reiner.jpg
Reiner at the 41st Emmy Awards on September 17, 1989

Reiner performed in several Broadway musicals (including Inside U.S.A. and Alive and Kicking) and had the lead role in Call Me Mister. In 1950, he was cast by producer Max Leibman in Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows, appearing on air in skits while also working alongside writers, such as Mel Brooks and Neil Simon. Reiner also worked on Caesar's Hour with Brooks, Simon, Larry Gelbart, Mel Tolkin, Mike Stewart, Aaron Ruben, Sheldon Keller, and Gary Belkin.

Starting in 1960, Reiner teamed with Brooks as a comedy duo on The Steve Allen Show. Their performances on television and stage included Reiner playing the straight man in 2000 Year Old Man. Eventually, the routine expanded into a series of 5 comedy albums and a 1975 animated TV special.

In 1959, Reiner developed a television pilot titled Head of the Family, based on his own personal and professional life. However, the network did not like Reiner in the lead role for unknown reasons. In 1961, it was recast and retitled The Dick Van Dyke Show and became an iconic series, making stars of his lead actors Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. In addition to writing many of the episodes, Reiner occasionally appeared as temperamental show host Alan Brady. The series ran from 1961 to 1966. In 1966, Reiner co-starred in The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming.

On The Dick Van Dyke Show, he began his directing career. After the series ended its run, his first film feature was an adaptation of Joseph Stein's play Enter Laughing (1967), which, in turn, was based on Reiner's semi-autobiographical 1958 novel of the same name. Balancing directing, producing, writing, and acting, Reiner has worked on a wide range of films and television programs. Films from his early directing career included Where's Poppa? (1970), Oh, God! (1977), and The Jerk (1979).

Reiner played a large role in the early career of Steve Martin, by directing and co-writing four films for the comedian: The Jerk in 1979, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid in 1982, The Man with Two Brains in 1983, and All of Me in 1984. Reiner also appeared in both The Jerk and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.

In 1989, he directed Bert Rigby, You're a Fool. In 1990, he narrated the Grimm children's story "The Musicians of Bremen" (music by Bernard Rogers) for a CD of classical music for children. In 2000, Reiner was honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. A year later, he portrayed Saul Bloom in Steven Soderbergh's remake of Ocean's Eleven, as well as its two sequels, Ocean's Twelve (2004), and Ocean's Thirteen (2007). From 2004 to 2005, Reiner voiced Sarmoti in Father of the Pride.

Reiner is the author of several books, including his 2004 memoir My Anecdotal Life: A Memoir and novels, such as his 2006 novel NNNNN: A Novel. In American Film, he expressed his philosophy on writing comedy: "You have to imagine yourself as not somebody very special but somebody very ordinary. If you imagine yourself as somebody really normal and if it makes you laugh, it's going to make everybody laugh. If you think of yourself as something very special, you'll end up a pedant and a bore. If you start thinking about what's funny, you won't be funny, actually. It's like walking. How do you walk? If you start thinking about it, you'll trip."

In May 2009, he guest-starred as a clinic patient on the season finale of House. Reiner also voiced Santa Claus in Merry Madagascar and reprised his role in the Penguins of Madagascar episode "The All Nighter Before Christmas." In December 2009, Reiner guest-starred as a television producer on Two and a Half Men, and reprised this role in October 2013 and January 2014.
Reiner at a ceremony for Mel Brooks on April 23, 2010
In June 2010, Reiner guest starred in Hot in Cleveland as Elka Ostrovsky's date and reprised the role in July. He made appearances on The Cleveland Show as Murray and wrote the story for the episode "Your Show of Shows", named after the program that started his career. Reiner is also the only person to have appeared on every incarnation of The Tonight Show.[11][12]

Personal life

On December 24, 1943, Reiner married singer Estelle Lebost. The two were married 64 years, until her death. At the time of the marriage, Reiner was 21 and she was 29. Estelle delivered the line "I'll have what she's having" in the deli scene of their son Rob's 1989 film When Harry Met Sally.[1] She died on October 25, 2008, at age 94.[13]

He is the father of Rob Reiner (b. 1947), poet, playwright and author Sylvia Anne (Annie) Reiner (b. 1949), and painter,[14] actor, and director Lucas Reiner (b. 1960).[1][15] Carl Reiner has six grandchildren,[16] four from Rob and two from Lucas, and five great-grandchildren.[17]

Reiner has described himself as a Jewish atheist.[5] He has said, "I have a very different take on who God is. Man invented God because he needed him. God is us."[18][19]

Reiner resides in Beverly Hills, California.[20] At 92, he's one of the oldest celebrities active on Twitter.[21]


  • Enter Laughing (1958)
  • 2000 Years With: Carl Reiner & Mel Brooks (with Mel Brooks, 1960)
  • All Kinds of Love (1993)
  • Continue Laughing (1995)
  • How Paul Robeson Saved My Life (and Other Mostly Happy Stories) (1999)
  • The 2000 Year-Old Man in the Year 2000: The Book (1999)
  • My Anecdotal Life: A Memoir (2003)
  • NNNNN: A Novel (2006)
  • Tell Me Another Scary Story... But Not Too Scary! (with James Bennett) (2009)
  • Just Desserts: A Novellelah (2009)
  • Tell Me a Silly Story (with James Bennett) (2010)
  • I Remember Me (2012)
  • I Just Remembered! (2014)

As screenwriter



As director




As actor

File:Carl Reiner-1976.jpg
Reiner on the set of Good Heavens in 1976





File:Carl Reiner star HWF.JPG
Reiner's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6421 Hollywood Blvd

Primetime Emmy Awards

  • 1954: Best Series Supporting Actor for "Your Show of Shows" NBC – Nominee
  • 1956: Best Actor in a Supporting Role for "Caesar's Hour" NBC – Nominee
  • 1957: Best Supporting Performance by an Actor for Caesar's Hour NBC – Winner
  • 1958: Best Continuing Supporting Performance by an Actor in a Dramatic or Comedy Series for Caesar's Hour NBC – Winner
  • 1962: Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy for The Dick Van Dyke Show CBS – Winner
  • 1963: Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy for The Dick Van Dyke Show CBS – Winner
  • 1964: Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy or Variety for The Dick Van Dyke Show (Shared with Sam Denoff and Bill Persky)CBS – Winner
  • 1965: Outstanding Program Achievements in Entertainment for The Dick Van Dyke Show CBS – Winner
  • 1965: Outstanding Individual Achievements in Entertainment for The Dick Van Dyke Show - Nominee
  • 1966: Special Classifications of Individual Achievements for voices in "Linus The Lionhearted" CBS – Nominee
  • 1966: Outstanding Comedy Series for The Dick Van Dyke Show CBS – Winner
  • 1967: Outstanding Writing Achievement in Variety for The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner and Howard Morris Special (Shared with Mel Brooks, Sam Denoff, Bill Persky, and Mel Tolkin) CBS – Winner
  • 1995: Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for Mad About You: "The Alan Brady Show" NBC – Winner
  • 2000: Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series for Beggers And Choosers - Nominee
  • 2004: Outstanding Special Class Program for The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited - Nominee




  1. ^ a b c St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press, (2000)
  2. ^ a b "Awards Search - Television Academy". 2014-08-16. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  3. ^ a b "Carl Reiner - Awards - IMDB". 2014-08-16. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  4. ^ Carl Reiner Biography (1922–)
  5. ^ a b Tom, Tugend (June 15, 2008). "Reiners honored by Israeli film fest". The Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved July 21, 2009. 
  6. ^ Lynda Gorov (2013) Funnyman Carl Reiner Moment Magazine
  7. ^ Susan King, Los Angeles Times, Feb 27, (2001) pg. F.5
  8. ^ Reiner, Carl (June 3, 2014). Norm Macdonald Live. Interview with Norm Macdonald. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Ed McMahon heads for Times Square". 2001-04-25. Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  10. ^ "Carl Reiner". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Estelle Reiner dies at 94
  14. ^ ART REVIEWS; David Pagel, Los Angeles Times, Oct 12, (1995) pg. 4
  15. ^ Lucas Reiner at the Internet Movie Database
  16. ^ Carl Reiner grandchildren
  17. ^ Tracy Reiner family life
  18. ^ King, Susan (October 21, 2009). "Carl Reiner's big break". LA Times. Retrieved December 22, 2010. 
  19. ^ Waldron, Vince (1994). The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book. New York: Applause. p. 23. ISBN 1-55783-453-9. 
  20. ^ 'Musicals, Concerts, Children's Shows, and More Highlight Annenberg's 2014-2015 Season', The Beverly Hills Courier, September 12, 2014, p. 10 [1]
  21. ^ Carl Reiner's Twitter Account
  22. ^ "Television Hall of Fame Honorees: Complete List". 

Further reading

  • Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, (2007).

External links

Template:TCA Career Achievement Award

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