Carl Reiner: 8 of His Most Memorable Works

10:42 AM 6/30/2020

by Sydney Odman

His seven-decade career includes contributions to Sid Caesar's variety programs, 'The 2000 Year Old Man,' 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' and the 'Ocean's Eleven' franchise.

Carl Reiner
Carl Reiner
Universal Pictures/Photofest

Carl Reiner, who died Monday night of natural causes at the age of 98, came to prominence in the 1950s as a performer and writer on Sid Caesar's variety programs Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour.

After his early collaborations with Caesar and Mel Brooks, with whom he became lifelong friends, the pair doing the great two-man comedy routine The 2000 Year Old Man, Reiner created the beloved sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, based on his own life.

He later jump-started Steve Martin's big-screen career by directing him in The Jerk. The two would go on to team up for Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid and The Man With Two Brains, both of which they wrote together, and All of Me.

He also directed George Burns in Oh, God!, John Candy in Summer Rental, the 1993 spoof Fatal Instinct and The Old Feeling, with Bette Midler and Dennis Farina.

He more recently appeared in the Ocean's Eleven franchise and voiced Carl Reineroceros in Toy Story 4.

Reiner won Emmys for his work as an actor, writer and producer and also took home a spoken-word Grammy and was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Read on for a breakdown of his most memorable works.

  • 'Caesar's Hour'

    1954-57

    NBC/Photofest

    Reiner starred alongside Sid Caesar, Howard Morris, Nanette Fabray and Janet Blair in Caesar's Hour, a live sketch comedy show. The show premiered on NBC and was directed by Clark Jones. In addition to his onscreen performances, Reiner also co-wrote for the show with Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Mel Tolkin, Larry Gelbart and more. 

  • 'The 2000 Year Old Man'

    1961-97

    In this series of comedy routines, Reiner interviews Brooks, who plays the oldest man in the world and improvised answers to various topics. The duo released a TV special and five comedy albums, the last of which received a Grammy in 1998, along with other appearances in which they performed the skit.

  • 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'

    1961-66

    CBS/Photofest

    Reiner created The Dick Van Dyke Show based on his own life. The Dick Van Dyke Show follows the work and home life of Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke), a comedy writer for a fictional television variety show. Alongside Van Dyke, the show also starred Mary Tyler Moore, Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie and Larry Matthews. In addition to writing and producing the beloved sitcom, Reiner appeared occasionally as the toupee-wearing cavalier comedian Alan Brady. The series was nominated for 23 Emmys, winning 14.

  • 'The Jerk'

    1979

    Universal Studios/Photofest

    Reiner directed The Jerk, starring Steve Martin in one of his earliest breakout film roles. With a budget of only $4 million, the 1979 comedy was a booming success at the box office, grossing a total of $73 million ($261 million adjusted for inflation). Martin also co-wrote the film, along with Carl Gottlieb and Michael Elias. The Jerk follows Nevin R. Johnson (Martin), an idiotic man unaware of his own adoption by a family of African-American sharecroppers, as he struggles to navigate through life on his own. 

  • 'Ocean's Eleven'

    2001

    Warner Bros./Photofest

    In Steven Soderbergh's remake of the 1960s Rat Pack film of the same name, Ocean's Eleven features a star-studded ensemble cast including George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Andy García and Julia Roberts. The film follows a heist led by Danny Ocean (Clooney) in a series of three simultaneous Las Vegas casino robberies. Reiner played Saul Bloom, an elderly con man and integral member of Ocean's team.

  • 'Ocean's Twelve'

    2004

    Warner Bros./Photofest

    The second installment in the Ocean's franchise featured the same cast of characters, with some new additions including Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vincent Cassel. Reiner returned as Saul Bloom, who initially refuses to go along with another one of Ocean's schemes but ultimately rejoins the team. 

  • 'Ocean's Thirteen'

    2007

    Warner Bros./Photofest

    Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin joined the Ocean's ensemble cast in the last installment of the trilogy. After a member of the team gets double-crossed by Willy Bank (Pacino), Danny Ocean pins the businessman as his newest target. In Ocean's Thirteen, Saul Bloom (Reiner) takes on the persona of Kensington Chubb, a British hotel reviewer.

  • 'Hot in Cleveland'

    2010

    TV LAND/Photofest

    Reiner continued his legacy in television comedy on TV Land's sitcom Hot in Cleveland. On the show, Reiner portrayed the on-and-off boyfriend of Elka, a Polish caretaker played by TV icon Betty White.