Can it be that Carl Reiner is dead? The writer, actor, director and producer? The guy who was a hero of mine? The creator of the iconic "Dick Van Dyke Show"? The straight-man to Mel Brooks' 2000 Year Old Man?
Carl was 98 when he passed away of natural causes earlier this week. His son, director Rob Reiner, announced in a tweet, "As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light." Dick Van Dyke offered, " 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." Alan Alda: "My friend Carl Reiner died last night. His talent will live on for a long time, but the loss of his kindness and decency leaves a hole in our hearts. We love you, Carl." Jason Alexander: "Carl Reiner was comedy genius. Often that genius made other funny people even funnier. But give him a stage and he could spin laughter out of any moment. I watched him do it time and again. His contributions to comedy are eternal. And a lovely man, as well." Steve Martin: "Goodbye to my greatest mentor in movies and in life. Thank you, dear Carl."
Did you know that Mel Brooks would go over to Carl's house every night and the two of them would eat dinner together, chatting, often just watching a movie or the latest fare on TV? And lest anyone think Mel stole the show with the famous "2,000 Year Old Man" routine (and let's face it, Mel was often the center of attention in whatever he was doing!), Mr. Brooks set that straight: "The real engine behind 'The 2000 Year Old Man' is Carl, not me. I'm just collecting the fares. People should know that he's the most important one in the act."
Still, Carl Reiner preferred to play straight man or work behind the scenes, directing such films as "Oh, God!" and "The Jerk", and even appearing as conman Saul Bloom in George Clooney's "Ocean's Eleven" and its two sequels.
Clooney: "Carl Reiner made every room he walked into funnier, smarter, kinder. It all seemed so effortless. What an incredible gift he gave us all. His was a life well lived and we’re all the better for it. Rest in peace my friend."
Imagine having your friends say accolades like that about you!
Talk about a life well lived. Thank you Carl Reiner: you sure made my life better!