SAN FRANCISCO — Carl Reiner, the writer, actor, director and producer whose many decades’ worth of credits — including “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The 2000-Year-Old Man” — showcased a ready wit and a generous spirit, has died, his son, director Rob Reiner, announced in a tweet.
He was 98.
“Last night my dad passed away,” Rob Reiner wrote. “As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.”
Carl Reiner died Monday of natural causes at his home in Beverly Hills, his assistant Judy Nagy told Variety.
His career spanned live television, Broadway, motion pictures, record albums and a variety of guest appearances. He was a performer and writer on the legendary “Your Show of Shows.” He created “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” one of the great situation comedies in history, which was based on his life as a comedy writer.
Reiner’s ongoing routine with fellow comedian and director Mel Brooks, “The 2000-Year-Old Man” — which began in the 1950s — was immortalized on several comedy albums. The act, about a reporter who interviews a 2000-year-old man about life, is still memorized and repeated by comedians past and present, beloved for its fast-paced humor, absurd twists and obvious camaraderie between the pair.
But unlike Brooks – who was often the center of attention in whatever he was doing — Reiner preferred to play straight man or work behind the scenes.
He had a hand in many “Dick Van Dyke Show” scripts and occasionally popped up as a supporting character, grouchy TV host Alan Brady. He had a run as a movie director with such films as “Oh, God!” (1977) and “The Jerk” (1979).
Brooks praised him for his comic intelligence.
“The real engine behind (‘The 2000-Year-Old man) is Carl, not me. I’m just collecting the fares,” he told the A.V. Club. “People should know that he’s the most important one in the act.”