Depending on who you
talk to, Carl Reiner is best known as a co-star on the legendary television
program "Your Show of Shows" . . . or as the creator and co-star
of "The Dick van Dyke Show" . . . or as The Interviewer of "The
2,000 Year Old Man". . . or as director of feature films, including
"The Jerk," "All of Me'' and "Oh, God!". . .
or as father of actor writer-director-producer Rob Reiner and husband
of jazz vocalist Estelle Reiner. . . or as the recipient of twelve Emmy
awards . . . or . . .
Born in the Bronx, Reiner is the son of a watchmaker. At Evander Childs
High School, his interest was baseball, but at age sixteen he took a job
as a machinist helper in the millinery trade. He simultaneously enrolled
in drama school for eight months and landed a part as a second tenor in
an updated version of "The Merry Widow."
Reiner subsequently served in World War II, first training as a radio
operator in the Air Force, followed by an assignment to Georgetown University
to study French in order to become an interpreter, then as a teletype
operator in the Signal Corps and later as a comedian and actor with Maurice
Evans' Special Services Entertainment Unit. He
toured the Pacific for eighteen months in G.I. revues.
Upon his honorable discharge in 1946, he won the leading role in the national
company of "Call Me Mister" and after three more years in various
Broadway musicals, joined Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca on "Your Show
In 1958, his first novel, "Enter Laughing" was published. An
autobiographical work, the book chronicled Reiner's frustrations as a
young machinist helper in the millinery trade and his eventual entry into
show business. The book subsequently became the basis for a Broadway play
(adapted by Joe Stein) and feature film (directed and co-produced by Reiner)
of the same name.
In 1961, Reiner conceived "The Dick Van Dyke Show," which would
become one of the most famous and best loved sitcoms in television history.
Of course, audiences have never forgotten his co-starring role on the
show as the toupee-wearing producer Alan Brady. That same year, he wrote
his first feature film, "The Thrill of It All," for Doris Day
and James Garner.
Reiner's other feature film credits as a director include: "The Comic,"
co-written by Reiner and Aaron Ruben; "Where's Poppa?," which
starred George Segal and Ruth Gordon; "Oh, God!" starring George
Burns; four films with actor Steve Martin: ''The Jerk," "Dead
Men Dont Wear Plaid," "The Man With Two Brains" and
"All of Me;" "Summer Rental" with John Candy; "The
One and Only" with Henry Winkler; ''Summer School" with Mark
Harmon; "Bert Rigby, You're A Fool," which Reiner also wrote;
"Sibling Rivalry," with Kirstie Alley, "Fatal Instinct,"
with Armand Assante and Kate Nelligan, and "That Old Feeling,"
with Bette Midler and Dennis Farina.
Mr. Reiner and Mel Brooks released a CD and book with new material in
October of 1997, entitled, "The 2000 Year Old Man In The Year 2000"
(Harper-Collins Publisher and Rhino Records Distributer).
His motion picture acting credits include a starring role in "The
Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming" and featured or cameo
roles in "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," ''The Gazebo,"
"Generation," "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, "The End,"
and "The Slums Of Beverly Hills."
His television acting credits include featured roles in "Beggars
and Choosers," and "Family Law." His second novel, All
Kinds of Love, was published in April, 1993. His third novel, Continue
Laughing, was published in June, 1995. Mr. Reiner has a new book of short
stories which was published in September of l999. The title is How Paul
Robeson Saved My Life. and Other Mostly Happy Stories.
Reiner and his wife of 56 years, Estelle, are also parents of two other
children: Annie Reiner, a poet-, painter-playwright-psychoanalyst; and
Lucas Reiner, a painter-screenwriter-director. He calls all three of his
children "terribly civilized, wonderful human beings."