In the wake of Carl Reiner’s death, his ‘Oceans Eleven’ co-star, George Clooney, reflected on his friendship with a ‘funny, smart and kind’ man he was honored to call a friend.
“Carl Reiner made every room he walked into funnier, smarter, kinder. It all seemed so effortless,” George Clooney said in a statement to HollywoodLife following the death of Carl Reiner. Though Carl, 98, will forever be known as a comedy icon — creating The Dick Van Dyke Show and working alongside Mel Brooks — to his Ocean’s Eleven co-star, he was a beloved pal. “What an incredible gift he gave us all. His was a life well lived and we’re all the better for it. Rest in peace my friend.”
Younger fans will recognize Carl from his role as Saul Bloom in the Ocean’s movie, plotting and scheming alongside Danny Ocean (George Clooney), Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), and Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon.) “You do it all so well,” George said to Carl during a 2012 Television Academy tribute. “You write so well, you act so well, you direct so well, and you do it all with the greatest, greatest amount of class. You show up on the set of the Ocean’s films with us, and all we do is talk with you. Some of the most fun I’ve ever had is watching a group of actors sitting around in a circle, asking you questions, and you entertaining for such a long time.”
Carl passed away in his Beverly Hills home on Monday night (June 29) of natural causes. Days before his passing, Carl shared a tribute to his late wife, who passed in 2018. “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 [their children] Rob, Annie & Lucas Reiner into to this needy & evolving world,” he tweeted on June 27. A day later, he joined his daughter, Annie, to celebrate Mel Brooks’ 94th birthday. The three of them even took a picture together, each wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt.
An icon of comedy, Carl began his career in 1950 when comic actor Sid Caesar hired him as a writer on Your Show of Shows. That was where he met Mel Brooks, and together, they crafted one of American comedy’s more memorable characters, “The 2,000-year-old-man.” The duo sold albums, performed in clubs, and appeared on television with the act. TV would also help Carl notch his place in the history books. He created The Dick Van Dyke Show and launched the careers of Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.
He also had a hand in helping establish Steve Martin as a comedy legend by co-writing and directing The Jerk. He was behind the camera for such classics as Oh, God!, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, The Man With Two Brains, and Fatal Instinct. Carl continued to act up until 2019, lending his voice to movies like Toy Story 4 and appearing in shows like Angie Tribeca. All in all, he won over 9 Emmys in a career that spanned more than 7 decades. He is survived by his children Lucas Reiner, Annie Reiner, and director Rob Reiner, as well as his grandchildren.