Comedy legend Carl Reiner, of The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Jerk, dies at 98

Comedy legend Carl Reiner, of The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Jerk, dies at 98

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American comedy legend Carl Reiner, who over a decades-long career made his mark on Broadway, TV and film, has died.

He was 98.

Reiner was inducted into the Emmy Hall of Fame in 1999, and before that had taken home multiple Emmys, primarily for his work on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Caesar’s Hour.”

His last win was in 1995 for outstanding guest actor in a comedy, on NBC’s “Mad About You.”

“Last night my dad passed away,” his son and fellow comedy giant Rob Reiner said in a statement Tuesday. “As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.”

Carl Reiner was a star of early television with material that will likely still be funny 2,000 years from now. His bestselling album, “2,000 Year Old Man,”, was based on his comedy routine with Mel Brooks.

Comedian Carl Reiner in 1955.Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images file

In that famous 1975 album, Reiner plays an interviewer asking questions of a 2,000-year-old Brooks. The straight man Reiner quizzes Brooks on all sorts of topics in life, with improvisational answers that went down in comedy history.

Even in his final days, Reiner still managed to stay socially relevant. To celebrate Brooks’ 94th birthday, the pair donned Black Lives Matter T-shirts in a photo with Reiner’s daughter, Annie.

That picture may have been on the mind of actress Rosanna Arquette when on Tuesday she tweeted a clenched fist and the message: “Rest in Peace and power Carl Reiner.” Arquette expressed “gratitude for all the laughter you have given us through the years.”

“Two and a Half Men” star Jon Cryer called Reiner a “brilliant and hilarious” role model and recalled the time he took the veteran’s place as host of the “Directors Guild of America Awards” in 2009. Cryer posted a picture of a hilarious letter Reiner sent him after the latter couldn’t make the gig due to health issues.

“I thank you for filling in for me tonight,” Reiner typed. “I wish with all my heart that you fail, or if you don’t, that you are no more than adequate. I don’t want to have to compete with you for this non-paying job.”

Reiner’s wit boldly took American comedy where no man had gone before: “Condolences to the family of Carl Reiner,” “Star Trek” icon William Shatner wrote Tuesday. ”From the writers room of Sid Caesar to recreating those times for the Dick Van Dyke show, Carl was a master at his craft.”

Not only was Reiner one of the latter 20th century’s great comedic minds, he helped other comics.

Reiner directed the 1979 comedy “The Jerk,” which sent standup comedian Steve Martin to new heights of fame.

“Carl Reiner came into the mix and gave it heart and gave it shape and we became very very close friends,” Martin told an American Film Institute audience in 2009, celebrating the movie’s 30th birthday.

“He was like a father to me — although I wouldn’t let him bathe me like he wanted to.”

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

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