Carl Reiner, ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ Creator and Hollywood Legend, Dies at 98

Comedian was famous for his collaborations with Mel Brooks and Steve Martin

Carl Reiner, If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast
Photographed by Matt Sayles for TheWrap

Carl Reiner, legendary actor/director and creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” died Monday evening. He was 98.

Reiner died of natural causes, surrounded by his family at his home in Beverly Hills, a representative for the actor told TheWrap.

“Last night my dad passed away. As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light,” Rob Reiner, Carl Reiner’s son, tweeted Tuesday morning.

An 11-time Emmy winner and 18-time Emmy nominee, Reiner is best known as the creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” which he starred on with Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.

Born in The Bronx, New York City on Mary 20, 1922 to Jewish immigrants Irving and Bessie Reiner, Carl Reiner began his career doing Broadway musicals in the late ’40s, including the leading role in “Call Me Mister.”

Reiner went on to become a writer and actor on Sid Caesar’s variety shows “Caesar’s Hour” and “Your Show of Shows” from 1950 to 1957. It was writing for those shows where Reiner met his good friend Mel Brooks, who he teamed up with for the two-man comedy routine “The 2000 Year Old Man,” which spawned numerous comedy albums, one of which won a Grammy.

Another frequent collaborator of Reiner’s was Steve Martin, who starred in Reiner’s films “The Jerk,” “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” “Man with Two Brains” and “All of Me.”

As a TV actor, Reiner is best known for playing Alan Brady on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” along with numerous guest spots on shows like “House,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Hot in Cleveland,” “The Cleveland Show” and “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”

On the film side, Reiner’s memorable credits include 1963’s “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World,” 1966’s “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming,” the “Ocean’s Eleven” trilogy and “Toy Story 4.”

In 2018, at the age of 96, Reiner became the oldest person ever nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for his narration of the HBO documentary “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast,” which chronicles the lives of a number of vibrant people in their 90s, including Reiner. He didn’t end up winning that Emmy, and Norman Lear took over the title of oldest Emmy nominee (and also winner) the following year, but readers can find TheWrap’s interview with Reiner about his notable nod here.

In 2000, Reiner was honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Reiner wed singer Estelle Lebost in 1943 and the two were married for 64 years until her death in 2008. Reiner is the father of actor and director Rob Reiner, author Annie Reiner and artist Lucas Reiner.