Carl Reiner, larger-than-life comedy and Hollywood icon (and father of Rob Reiner, Annie Reiner and Lucas Reiner), whose career and influence spanned generations, passed away Monday night at the age of 98, his assistant confirming to Variety that he passed due to natural causes at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Last night my dad passed away. As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) June 30, 2020
Among the innumerable accolades and noteworthy moments in Reiner’s career was his creation of The Dick Van Dyke Show, which premiered in 1961 and went on to be a legendary sitcom.
From his early days in the Bronx to working alongside fellow comedy legend Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner quickly made a name for himself in the business. He went on to co-write and direct some of Steve Martin’s most notable films, including 1979’s The Jerk.
Goodbye to my greatest mentor in movies and in life. Thank you, dear Carl. https://t.co/H7A4ZwIqfc
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) June 30, 2020
In his later years, Reiner maintained a Twitter account that he used on a regular basis to share all sorts of anecdotes and stories from his unique perspective as a pillar of the comedy community — even sharing this just two days before his death:
Nothing pleases me more than knowing that I have lived the best life possible by having met & marrying the gifted Estelle (Stella) Lebost—who partnered with me in bringing Rob, Annie & Lucas Reiner into to this needy & evolving world.
— carl reiner (@carlreiner) June 27, 2020
And this from a few days before that:
What I am most proud of are, creating The Dick Van Dyke Show and informing Mel Brooks that he's 2000 Years Old and knows everything. This, and a lot more, in my Dispatches From Quarantine: https://t.co/tPhSMRBiiM
— carl reiner (@carlreiner) June 23, 2020
Tributes poured in on social media after the news was first announced:
— Mel Brooks (@MelBrooks) June 30, 2020
My idol, Carl Reiner, wrote about the human comedy. He had a deeper understanding of the human condition, than I think even he was aware of. Kind, gentle, compassionate, empathetic and wise. His scripts were never just funny, they always had something to say about us.
— Dick Van Dyke (@iammrvandy) June 30, 2020
R.I.P. Carl Reiner. Growing up Carl was like a second dad to me. He was the greatest. Not just as a comic legend but as a man. There was no one else this funny and this nice. I loved him.
— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) June 30, 2020
out of respect and appreciation for @carlreiner ‘s wit, intelligence, heart & boundless energy to create and express, I am retweeting the messages he sent on his last two days with us on the planet. What an inspiration. https://t.co/URwA4AIYT3
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) June 30, 2020
One of the greatest moments of my life was sitting in Mel Brooks’s office as he called #CarlReiner in front of Billy Crystal and I and proceeded to wind him up for 30 minutes as they both made fun of my name and said it needed an extra consonant. pic.twitter.com/lGh9ux3cSi
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) June 30, 2020
One of our comedy heroes
Thank you for everything you did for all of us
Love to the Reiner family pic.twitter.com/tBsiIelbdI
— Adam Sandler (@AdamSandler) June 30, 2020
He was one of the greatest comedy minds of our time. And one of the kindest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. RIP Carl Reiner.
— Eugene Levy (@Realeugenelevy) June 30, 2020
@carlreiner was a gift to us all.
Hilarious,brilliant and always a gentleman. My relationship with him will always be cherished. He was a hero to me and all of us in comedy have lost a giant. All my love to Rob and the family.
— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) June 30, 2020
Carl Reiner was everything, every human being alive should hold up as a bright example of what one person can do with theirs. A great loss for his family and the world. 📷Al Sieb https://t.co/bImuCKqJsu
— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) June 30, 2020
A bit more on the life and career of Carl Reiner, per Variety’s retrospective:
In 1995 Reiner received the Writers Guild’s Laurel Award, a lifetime achievement award for a career in TV writing. In 2000 he won the Mark Twain Prize for Humor, presented by the Kennedy Center. In 2009 he was presented with the WGA’s Valentine Davies Award, recognizing both his writing legacy and valued service to the guild, the entertainment industry and community at large.
He authored several memoirs and novels, including a sequel to “Enter Laughing,” “Continue Laughing,” “My Anecdotal Life” and “I Remember Me.”
In the 2003 “My Anecdotal Life,” he observed, “Inviting people to laugh with you while you are laughing at yourself is a good thing to do. You may be a fool but you’re the fool in charge.”
Reiner’s wife Estelle, to whom he had been married since 1943, died in 2008. In addition to Rob Reiner, survivors include his daughter Sylvia Anne and son Lucas.
May Carl Reiner rest in peace.