In Pictures: The 70-Year Career of Carl Reiner

Carl Reiner, a legend. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Writer, actor, director, and comedic legend Carl Reiner died today at the age of 98. He burst onto the national stage in 1950 supporting Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows, one of television’s first hits. Over the next 70 years, he wove himself into the tapestry of comedy history, creating The Dick Van Dyke Show, directing and co-writing Steve Martin’s The Jerk, and co-creating and performing the 2,000-Year-Old Man routine alongside his lifelong friend Mel Brooks, among many other important moments in comedy.

Reiner was married for 64 years to Estelle Lebost, and they raised three children, including actor-director Rob Reiner. In his later years, he penned more than 20 books. He remained politically active online until his final days. Tweeting three days before his death, Reiner put it best himself: “Nothing pleases me more than knowing that I have lived the best life possible …”

As we see in the following images, whether it was in front of the camera acting, behind it directing, or just appearing in a candid snapshot as a friend, husband, and father, Reiner’s best possible life was filled to the brim with both laughter and love.

Reiner (in the tub) with Howard Morris, Sid Caesar, and Janet Blair on Your Show of Shows, ca. 1950–1954. Photo: Pictorial Parade/Getty Images
Reiner (right) with Sid Caesar (center) and other castmates in 1952. Photo: Graphic House/Getty Images
Reiner (back, center) with Sid Caesar, Janet Blair, and others in 1956. Photo: Gordon Parks/The LIFE Picture Collection via
In The Comedy Spot: Head of the Family (1960–1962). Photo: CBS Enterprises
At a table read for The Dick Van Dyke Show in 1963. Photo: Earl Theisen Collection/Getty Images
On The Andy Williams Show with Mel Brooks in 1966. Photo: NBC/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Reiner (center) at a rehearsal for The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special in 1966. Photo: CBS Photo Archive/CBS via Getty Images
Directing Where’s Poppa? in 1970. Photo: David Attie/Getty Images
With Mel Brooks in 1974. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Directing Steve Martin while filming The Jerk in 1979. Photo: Archive Photos/Getty Images
With Steve Martin on the set of The Jerk in 1979. Photo: Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock
On Van Dyke and Company in 1976. Photo: NBC/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
With Johnny Carson in 1989. Photo: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via
With his wife Estelle in 1990. Photo: Time & Life Pictures/The LIFE Picture Collection via
On The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1990. Photo: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
With Mel Brooks in 1997. Photo: Bob Riha Jr/Getty Images
Rob Reiner and Jerry Seinfeld awarding Reiner the Mark Twain Prize in 2000. Photo: Stephen J Boitano/AP/Shutterstock
Carl Reiner and Brad Pitt in Ocean’s 11. Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock
With Mickey Rooney and Billy Crystal in 2012. Photo: Amanda Edwards/WireImage
In Pictures: The 70-Year Career of Carl Reiner