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June 30, 2020 12:28 pm

Jewish Comedic Legend, ‘Dick Van Dyke Show’ Creator Carl Reiner Remembered by Hollywood as ‘Mensch’

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Late actor Carl Reiner. Photo: Reuters / Mario Anzuoni.

Tributes poured in on Tuesday for comedic legend and “The Dick Van Dyke Show” creator Carl Reiner after it was announced that he had died the previous night at his home in Beverly Hills, California at the age of 98.

The writer, producer, director and actor was surrounded by family when he died of natural causes. His son Rob Reiner, 73, posted Tuesday on Twitter, “Last night my dad passed away. As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light.”

Reiner’s longtime friend and frequent comedy partner Mel Brooks remembered the late comedic genius on Twitter, writing the following: 

Comedian Silver Silverman tweeted a photo of Reiner embracing Brooks and wrote: “So sad to hear about @carlreiner. Not only did he make my favorite TV& movies (see:Where’s Poppa) but his humanity was beyond compare. His heart was so full of love. Never left his house empty handed- book, space pen, Swiss Army knife. RIP to a man that embodies the word mensch.”

The comedic icon was born Carleton Reiner in the Bronx, New York, on March 20, 1922, to Jewish immigrants from Austria and Romania. The winner of nine Emmys and a Grammy, he also received the Writers Guild’s Laurel Award,  the Mark Twain Prize for Humor and the WGA’s Valentine Davies Award.

He is survived by three children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His wife, Estelle, died in 2008.

Reiner had posted the following tweet on June 27: “Nothing pleases me more than knowing that I have lived the best life possible by having met & marrying the gifted Estelle (Stella) Lebost—who partnered with me in bringing Rob, Annie & Lucas Reiner into to this needy & evolving world.”

On Sunday, the “Ocean’s Eleven” actor was at Brooks’ home for the latter’s 94th birthday dinner. Reiner and Brooks, whose friendship spanned 70 years, revealed during an interview in February that they got together every night at Brooks’ home to eat, chat and watch “Jeopardy!”

In a message to Carl’s son, actor and “Happy Days” star Henry Winkler wrote on Twitter, “We send you our most heartfelt and deepest sympathies … Your father was a man who touched Greatness and gave the world Greatness though his vision and warmth and humor The earth has lost a force that continually made it bearable ..”

“Carl Reiner was comedy genius,” actor and “Seinfeld” star Jason Alexander wrote on Twitter. “Often that genius made other funny people even funnier. But give him a stage and he could spin laughter out of any moment. I watched him do it time and again. His contributions to comedy are eternal. And a lovely man, as well. #ripCarlReiner.”

“The View” co-host Joy Behar called Reiner “irreplaceable.”

“Frozen” actor Josh Gad posted on Twitter: “As if 2020 weren’t cruel enough. Goodbye to one of the greatest comedic minds of all time. Thank you for always making us laugh and for always giving us joy. My deepest condolences go out to the entire Reiner family. RIP #CarlReiner.”

Director Ron Howard on Twitter called Reiner “a brilliant comedy talent w/heart & intellect whether writing, directing, producing or performing.” He added, “Try estimating how many times in your life this fella’s work made you laugh. I count well over 3k for me & growing. Thank you, Carl.”

Actor Ed Asner said following Reiner’s passing, “There will forever only be one of him. May his memory be forever blessed. He leaves us with so much laughter. My heart goes out to @robreiner and the entire Reiner family.”

Riener’s close friend, actor Alan Alda, wrote on Twitter that Reiner’s “talent will live on for a long time, but the loss of his kindness and decency leaves a hole in our hearts.”

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