Fifty years is a long time to do anything. It's an eternity in Hollywood. And after more than five decades on screen, spanning multiple generations and genres and basically doing nothing but bringing a little joy into our lives, Carl Reiner has died at age 98.
It's impossible to summarize the importance of his body of work in just a few paragraphs. You can't nail down just how funny Reiner was in even the best examples. He was a showman's showman. He was an actor's actor.
And most of all — and this came across pretty much every time on screen — you just got the sense that he was a good person. Because he was.
Carl Reiner was father to another Hollywood heavyweight — actor and director Rob Reiner. "Meathead" on All in the Family . Director of such classics as This is Spinal Tap , A Few Good Men , The Princess Bride , When Harry Met Sally , The American President — and so many others.
Here are but a few of the dozens and dozens of pieces of work Reiner and his legacy leave behind.
For many of us, Saul Bloom was our first modern taste of Carl Reiner. (And if you can believe it, George Clooney's Ocean's Eleven remake is damned near 20 years old now.)
Saul was a con man. He was a lady's man. He was a man with experience who didn't have to flaunt it.
He was the one person they needed to pull off any and all the jobs.
A ridiculous funny bit in a ridiculously funny movie. And that's maybe one of the things you'll notice most about Reiner. The Jerk is absolutely a Steve Martin movie. But Reiner played a crucial role in it without outshining anyone.
The gist is that Martin's Navin R. Johnson invents a stupid device that keeps your eyeglasses from slipping. One problem, though — it causes you to go crosseyed. Reiner files a class-action lawsuit and is joined by 9 million others, and Navin ends up penniless and homeless.
The Carol Burnett Show
One of the two shows that helped make Carl Reiner a household name, The Carol Burnett Show is a throwback to a simpler time. But the show (and its predecessor, which we'll talk about next) is a huge part of what made comedy what it is today.
So many current series never would have been made if it weren't for The Carol Burnett Show , and Reiner played a big part in it.
The Dick Van Dyke Show
We wouldn't have modern-day comedy without Carl Reiner, and we wouldn't have The Carol Burnett Show without The Dick Van Dyke Show .
The clip above of Reiner talking with Conan O'Brien pretty much sums it up.
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
This appearance was a mere cameo in a ridiculously crazy film, but it's worth highlighting here.
And it's worth watching Reiner's telling of the tale of the part, which definitely has weathered better than any mere cameo would presume.
The 2000 Year Old Man
Brooks. Reiner. Just watch it.
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