Carl Reiner, beloved creator of Dick Van Dyke Show, dies

Carl Reiner, the ingenious and versatile writer, actor and director who appeared as a "second banana" to Sid Caesar and rose to the front of the comedy as the creator of Dick Van Dyke's show and straight man to Mel Brooks 2000 year old man, died.

He was 98 years old.

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Reiner's assistant Judy Nagy said she died of natural causes Monday night at her home in Beverly Hills, California, at 98.

One of the most popular men in show business, the tall, bald Reiner was a welcome face on small, silver screens. He was known for his work in the Caesar troupe in the 1950s, as Alan Brady, grunting and wearing a wig. The Dick Van Dyke Show and in movies like The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming and It's a crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy world.

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Comedians Mel Brooks, left, and Reiner pose with the Grammy Awards for best spoken comedy album on February 24, 1999 in Los Angeles. (Vince Bucci / AFP / Getty Images)

In recent years, he was part of the gangster gang in the Ocean Eleven films starring George Clooney and appeared in documentaries, including Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age and If you are not at Obit, have breakfast.

The films he directed included Oh God! starring George Burns and John Denver; All of Me, With Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin; and the 1970 comedy Where's Poppa?

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He was especially proud of his books, including Enter Laughing, An autobiographical novel later adapted for Broadway film and show; and My anecdotal life, A memoir published in 2003.

He recounted his childhood and creative journey in the 2013 book, I remember.

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But many remember Reiner for The Dick Van Dyke Show, one of the most popular television series of all time and a model of theater, physical comedy and timeless and good-natured humor.

He starred Van Dyke as a television comedy writer working for a demanding and eccentric boss (Reiner) and living with his wife (Mary Tyler Moore in his first major TV role) and young son in the New Rochelle, New York suburb.

"Van Dyke's show is probably the most exciting of my achievements, because it was very, very personal," said Reiner once. "It was about me and my wife, living in New Rochelle and working on the Sid Caesar program."

Reiner is the father of actor-director Rob Reiner.

"As I write this, my heart is aching. He was my guiding light," tweeted Rob Reiner on Tuesday.

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