Here’s a look at the life of Grammy and Emmy-winning actor, screenwriter, novelist and director, Carl Reiner.
Birth date: March 20, 1922
Death date: June 29, 2020
Birth place: The Bronx, New York
Birth name: Carl Reiner
Father: Irving Reiner, watchmaker
Mother: Bessie (Mathias) Reiner
Marriage: Estelle (Lebost) Reiner (December 24, 1943-October 25, 2008, her death)
Children: Lucas, Annie and Rob
Education: Attended Georgetown University, 1943
Military service: US Army, 1942-1946
Nominated for 18 Primetime Emmy Awards with 11 wins, including seven awards for his work as writer and creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” He was also inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
Nominated for eight Grammy awards with one win.
Growing up during the Great Depression, Reiner developed an interest in writing and performing after taking a government-funded drama class sponsored by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). When Reiner received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2000, he said the WPA was instrumental in steering him towards a comedy career and he credited President Franklin D. Roosevelt as one of the people who helped him break into showbiz.
Reiner’s literary output included novels, children’s books and memoirs.
1942-1946 – Reiner serves in the Army during WWII. He transfers from the Army’s signal corps to the Special Services Entertainment Unit, touring the South Pacific with a theater company that stages productions for the troops.
April 30, 1948 – Reiner makes his Broadway acting debut in a patriotic musical, “Inside U.S.A.”
1950-1954 – Member of the writing team and cast of TV comedy, “Your Show of Shows.” There, he meets Mel Brooks, with whom he develops an absurdist routine in which a reporter (Reiner) interviews a 2,000-year-old man (Brooks).
March 16, 1957 – Wins the Emmy for Best Supporting Performance by an Actor for “Caesar’s Hour.”
April 15, 1958 – Wins the Emmy for Best Continuing Supporting Performance by an Actor in Drama or Comedy for “Caesar’s Hour.”
1958 – Reiner’s first novel, “Enter Laughing,” is published. The semi-autobiographical book is adapted into a 1963 Broadway play.
1960 – Reiner and Brooks record an album featuring a mock interview with the 2,000-year-old man. The hit spawns four follow-up albums, an animated TV special and several books.
October 3, 1961 – “The Dick Van Dyke Show” debuts on CBS. The series was originally going to be titled “Head of the Family,” with Reiner starring as Rob Petrie. After a pilot was shot, the show was reworked with a new cast, led by Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, and a new title. Reiner appears as Alan Brady; a bombastic variety show host.
May 22, 1962 – Wins the Emmy for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy for “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
May 26, 1963 – Wins two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy for “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
May 25, 1964 – Wins two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy or Variety for “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
September 12, 1965 – Wins Emmy for Outstanding Program Achievements in Entertainment for “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
May 22, 1966 – Wins Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series for “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
June 1, 1966 – The final episode of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” airs. In the series finale, Petrie (Van Dyke) writes a memoir and Brady (Reiner) agrees to turn it into a sitcom.
1967 – Reiner directs his first feature film, “Enter Laughing,” an adaptation of his book and stage play.
June 4, 1967 – Wins the Emmy for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy along with Brooks, Sam Denoff, Bill Persky and Mel Tolkin for “The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special.”
December 14, 1979 – “The Jerk” debuts. Standup comic-turned-actor Steve Martin stars as a Thermos-toting simpleton who gets rich inventing a nose guard for eyeglasses. Reiner and Martin collaborate on three more films, “All of Me,” “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” and “The Man with Two Brains.”
1995 – Reiner makes a guest appearance on the sitcom, “Mad About You,” playing an older version of his character, Alan Brady from “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
September 10, 1995 – Wins an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for “Mad About You.”
February 24, 1999 – Reiner and Brooks win a Grammy for “The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000” in the Best Spoken Comedy Album category.
March 11, 1999 – Is celebrated as an inductee to the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
October 24, 2000 – Reiner receives the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The ceremony features testimonials from Jerry Seinfeld, Martin and Brooks.
December 7, 2001 – “Ocean’s Eleven” opens in theaters. Reiner gets a role in the Rat Pack remake after Alan Arkin drops out due to illness. Two days before shooting begins, Reiner is called in to play Arkin’s character, a seasoned huckster named Saul. Reiner co-stars in two sequels, “Ocean’s Twelve” (2004) and “Ocean’s Thirteen” (2007).
2003 – Reiner’s first children’s book, “Tell Me a Scary Story…But Not Too Scary!” is published.
2009-2015 – Reiner plays recurring roles in the TV shows, “Two and a Half Men,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Hot in Cleveland.” He also voices characters in the animated comedies, “The Cleveland Show” and “American Dad.”
2012 – Reiner shares humorous tales about showbiz in the book, “I Remember Me.”
2017 – Stars in the HBO documentary “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast.” As host, Reiner candidly discusses aging and longevity with fellow nonagenarians, like Betty White and Norman Lear, as well as centenarians like Kirk Douglas.
March 20, 2019 – On his 97th birthday, Reiner, along with the National Comedy Center, announces an initiative to digitally preserve scripts from “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
June 29, 2020 – Reiner dies of natural causes at his home in Beverly Hills.