The Dick Van Dyke Show creator and comedy legend Carl Reiner has died at 98.
His assistant Judy Nagy confirmed the news Tuesday that the veteran entertainer had died of natural causes. Reiner had remained very active in his later life and career, most recently voicing the character Carl Reineroceros in last year’s Toy Story 4.
RIP: The Dick Van Dyke Show creator at star Carl Reiner – pictured above in February 2015 – has died at 98
A staunch critic of Donald Trump, in 2018, Reiner said he wanted to live to see the President voted out of office, saying it was his ‘personal goal’ to ‘stick around until 2020’ while urging citizens to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.
His filmmaker son and political activist Rob Reiner tweeted on Tuesday: ‘Last night my dad passed away. As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.’
The comedian, actor, director, screenwriter and publisher had an impressive career in the entertainment business that spanned seven decades.
Reiner was arguably best known for creating the iconic American sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, that aired from 1961 to 1966 and produced a total of 158 episodes spanning five seasons.
In memory: Reiner (pictured in 1962) was arguably best known for creating the classic American sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, that aired from 1961 to 1966
A role to remember: Carl Reiner (as Alan Brady) on the iconic sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show
The show – that created a star in Mary Tyler Moore who was cast as Dick Van Dyke’s TV wife – featured Reiner himself as the capricious variety show host Alan Brady.
In 1950, Reiner got his start in acting, performing on several Broadway musicals including Inside U.S.A and Alive and Kicking.
However, he got his first TV break the same year in Sid Caesar’s variety show Your Show of Shows, where he appeared on air in skits while also got the opportunity of writing with Mel Brooks and Neil Simon.
For his efforts, Reiner was awarded two Emmys in 1956 and 1957 in the supporting category.
His working relationship with Mel Brooks would become fruitful, as they teamed up as a comedy duo, appearing in films such as It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, World (1963) and The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966), as well as the Ocean’s film series from 2001 to 2007.
Family: Carl pictured with his famous film director son Rob Reiner (left) in 2017 in Hollywood
Reiner and Brooks have a long-running friendship that started with their famous ‘2000 Year Old Man’ sketches, where Brooks plays a 2000-year-old man, interviewed by Reiner.
The entertainer – who was born in The Bronx, New York City in 1922 to his Jewish immigrant parents – then went on to have great success as a film director in the 1970s and 1980s. He collaborated with Steve Martin on his movies including The Jerk (1979).
The last movie he directed himself was the 1997 rom-com That Old Feeling, starring Bette Midler and Dennis Farina.
During the 1990s he enjoyed a guest role on Frasier, won another Emmy for a guest role playing Alan Brady on Mad About You in 1995, and also had roles on Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, and House.
Impressively, Reiner even remained in hot demand well into his 80s and his 90s, enjoying recurring roles on hit sitcoms including Two and a Half Men and Hot in Cleveland, where he starred alongside The Golden Girls star Betty White.
Recently, he was also an in-demand voice actor, working on popular shows including Family Guy, American Dad, King of the Hill, and Bob’s Burgers.
In demand: Reiner remained active in his career well into his 80s and 90s, and appeared in the show Hot in Cleveland, where he starred alongside The Golden Girls star Betty White (above)
In 2017, Reiner appeared in the HBO documentary If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast, alongside many of his nonagenarian peers including his comedy partner Mel Brooks and Kirk Douglas.
The comedy legend had three children with his wife Estelle Lebost, who died in 2008, Lucas, Annie, and Rob. His son Rob Reiner went on to become a successful Hollywood film director, known for The Princess Bride (1987) and A Few Good Men (1992).
His other children, Annie Reiner, went on to become an playwright and poet, while son Lucas Reiner is a painter and print maker.
Golden oldies: Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks and Norman Lear at the LA Premiere of If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast from HBO Documentaries on May 17, 2017 in LA
Before his showbiz career, Reiner had graduated school at 16 and worked as a machinist while also studying acting. He joined the Army during WWII where he toured South Pacific bases entertaining troops with his acting talents in G.I. revues.
Outside of his entertainment career, Reiner has recently turned his efforts to being a staunch opponent of Donald Trump, alongside his activist son Rob Reiner, the filmmaker.
He posted a powerful anti-Trump video in October 2018 where he began by saying: ‘I’ve seen a lot of things in my lifetime. I lived through the Great Depression. I served in World War II in our fight to defeat fascism. I’ve seen the invention of television and performed on television even before my family owned one.’
Loving couple: Carl and his wife Estelle Reiner in Los Angeles in 1986
He then challenged Trump’s honesty, saying: ‘But what I’ve never seen is the American people being lied to every single day about everything. Lies about climate change. Lies about protecting Medicare and Social Security. Lies about Russia attacking our elections. Lies about protecting people with preexisting conditions.’
‘In my 96 and a half years, I’ve seen a lot of things,’ he concluded. ‘But the one thing I cannot bear to see is America being destroyed by racism, fear-mongering and lies. Fortunately, there is something we can do about that. On November 6, we can vote for elected officials who will hold this president accountable.’
Reiner had previously been vocal about his disapproval of Trump, tweeting 2018: ‘At 96 and 6 months I have an incentive to hang around [until] I’m 98 so I can vote for whoever runs against our fake President Trump.’
People were heartened by his message, and in response, he wrote back: ‘Your reaction to my desire to live at least until I can vote for someone who will put the Trumpser in the dumpster, has caused me to smile the widest smile my lips are capable of…-the one that broke out when I first looked into the faces of my 3 infant children.’
Remembering: Carl Reiner at the 47th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 9, 1999 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California