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Carl Reiner

Carl Reiner is a true comedy legend. In a career spanning more than 60 years, he has made a lasting impact on the worlds of television, films, comedy albums and books. He first came to fame during the Golden Age of Television as a co-star on Your Show of Shows. He would later change the face of television comedy with the creation of The Dick Van Dyke Show. As a filmmaker, he directed such movies as Oh, God! and The Jerk. Earlier this year, the Directors Guild of America presented him with its Honorary Life Member Award.

Born in the Bronx, Reiner enrolled in drama school at age 16, and soon landed a part in an updated version of The Merry Widow. During World War II, he trained as a radio operator in the Air Force and studied French to serve as an interpreter. He continued to entertain as a comedian and actor with Maurice Evans' Special Services Entertainment Unit, touring the Pacific for eighteen months in G.I. revues.

Upon his honorable discharge in 1946, Reiner won the leading role in the national company of Call Me Mister. After three years in various Broadway musicals, he entered the emerging medium of television, joining Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca on Your Show of Shows. In 1954, Reiner earned an Emmy Award nomination for his performance on the series. He later won two Emmy Awards for his work on the show Caesar's Hour.

In 1961, Reiner created The Dick Van Dyke Show, which would become one of the most beloved sitcoms in television history, catapulting the careers of both its title star and Mary Tyler Moore. Audiences also remember Reiner's recurring role as the toupee-wearing producer Alan Brady. During the show's five-year run, Reiner won five Emmys for his work as a producer and writer on the series. Reiner won another Emmy in 1967 for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Show for his special with Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca and Howard Morris.

While working on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Reiner wrote his first feature film, The Thrill of It All, starring Doris Day and James Garner. He made his feature film directorial debut on 1967's Enter Laughing, which he also co-wrote, based on his own book. He then directed The Comic, which he also co-wrote and produced. Reiner has directed four films starring Steve Martin: The Jerk, All of Me, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid and The Man with Two Brains, the last two of which he also co-wrote. His film credits as a director also include Where's Poppa? starring George Segal and Ruth Gordon; Oh, God! starring George Burns and John Denver; The One and Only, with Henry Winkler; Summer Rental, starring John Candy; Summer School, starring Mark Harmon; Bert Rigby, You're a Fool, which he also wrote; Sibling Rivalry, with Kirstie Alley; Fatal Instinct, with Armand Assante and Kate Nelligan, and That Old Feeling, starring Bette Midler and Dennis Farina.

As an actor, Reiner has been the elder statesman in the all-star ensemble casts of Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve. His earlier film acting work also includes The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Gazebo, Generation, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, The End and Slums of Beverly Hills.

In 1995, Reiner won an Emmy Award for his guest role on the comedy series Mad About You. His recent television appearances also include guest roles on Beggars and Choosers, for which he was Emmy-nominated, The Bernie Mac Show, Crossing Jordan, Life with Bonnie and Boston Legal. In 2004, Reiner executive produced and starred in The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited, which garnered an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Special Class Program.

Reiner is also an accomplished author. In 1958, his first book, the semi-autobiographical novel Enter Laughing, was published. Years later, the book became the basis for a Broadway play (adapted by Joseph Stein) and a feature film. His subsequent books include the novel All Kinds of Love (1993), the novel Continue Laughing (1995), a book of short stories entitled How Paul Robeson Saved My Life (1999), the memoir My Anecdotal Life (2003), the children's book Tell Me A Scary Story (2003), The Two Thousand Year Old Man Goes to School (2005) and NNNNN: A Novel (2006).

In 1997, Reiner and Mel Brooks released a CD and book with new material entitled The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000, for which they won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word/Comedy Album. In 1999, Reiner was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, and, the following year, he received the Mark Twain Humor Award at the Kennedy Center in Washington.


Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Carl Reiner Facts

OccupationDirector
BirthdayMarch 20, 1922 (95)
SignPisces
BirthplaceBronx, New York, USA
Height6' 2" (1m88)  How tall is Carl Reiner compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Summer Rental
The Jerk
The Man With Two Brains
Oh, God!
Comedy Greats Spotlight Collection
Summer School
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
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