Estelle Reiner dies at 94
EmptyEstelle Reiner, the wife of actor-director Carl Reiner and mother of actor-director Rob Reiner, has died. She was 94.
Reiner, who uttered the famous line, "I'll have what she's having," after watching Meg Ryan fake an orgasm in the movie "When Harry Met Sally," died of old age Saturday at her home in Beverly Hills, her nephew George Shapiro said Wednesday.
Besides a handful of movie roles, Reiner was a painter and late in life became a jazz singer. During the Vietnam War, she was one of the organizers of the group Another Mother for Peace, something Rob Reiner has said helped inspire his own political activism.
"She was the most loving, family oriented person, beside her own artistic skills," Shapiro said. "She had the same passion in her artwork, in her singing or in preparing a meal for her family.
"And look at all the laughs she gave everybody," he added. "She was a natural actress."
In "When Harry Met Sally," Ryan and Billy Crystal are sitting in a restaurant, arguing over whether women can realistically fake orgasms when Ryan demonstrates that they can.
After her vocal display, Reiner, seated at another table, quickly says, "I'll have what she's having."
The 1989 film was directed by her son. In a 1996 interview, he told The Associated Press his mother had also helped design Another Mother For Peace's famous anti-war poster, "War is Not Healthy For Children and Other Living Things." The group was founded in the 1960s by 15 Beverly Hills mothers who joined together to protest the war.
Reiner had small roles in several other movies, including "The Man With Two Brains," which her husband directed, and "Fatso," directed by her friend, the late Anne Bancroft.
Born Estelle Lebost in the New York City borough of the Bronx, she married Reiner on Christmas Eve in 1943 while he was on Army leave and she was drafting blueprints for a defense contractor, according to a paid obituary in the Los Angeles Times.
Reiner was 65 when she began a career as a jazz singer. Over the next 28 years, she recorded seven albums and performed in clubs in New York and Los Angeles.
Besides her husband and son, Reiner is survived by another son, Lucas; a daughter, Annie, and five grandchildren.