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OBIT: Legend Sid Caesar, One of TV's First Comedy Stars

"Render unto Caesar what is his due," says Rob Reiner in tribute.

Sid Caesar has died. He was 91. Patch file photo.
Sid Caesar has died. He was 91. Patch file photo.

Sid Caesar, who became one of television's first major comedy stars through his work on the variety program Your Show of Shows, has died at age 91, his friends Larry King and Carl Reiner said today.

Details of Caesar's death were not immediately available.

“Sorry to learn about the passing of Sid Caesar -- a dear friend, a comic genius and an American classic,” King wrote on his Twitter page, announcing the news. “There will never be another one like him.”

Your Show of Shows produced a wealth of television and movie talent, with a writing team that included luminaries such as Reiner, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon and Larry Gelbart.

The show ran from 1950 to 1954, when it transitioned to Caesar's Hour, which aired for three more years.

Caesar battled drug and alcohol addiction after the show's run ended, but he continued to make television and film appearances, most notably in the comic romp It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

The New York native later appeared in Brooks' films Silent Movie and History of the World, Part I. He also appeared as Coach Calhoun in the film musical Grease and its sequel.

“Inarguably he was the greatest single monologist and skit comedian we ever had,” Reiner told The Hollywood Reporter. “Television owes him a debt of gratitude for his pioneering work and the great shows he gave us all. Render unto Caesar what is his due. He deserves real applause from the American people.”

--City News Service

Donna Fleming February 12, 2014 at 04:40 PM
No question, he was great. His humor was one of a kind.
George Vreeland Hill February 12, 2014 at 05:26 PM
A legend who will be even more appreciated as the years go by.
GreenInOC February 12, 2014 at 10:07 PM
If you ever get a chance to watch "Hail Sid Caesar!", it's a fantastic documentary. I've always found it fascinating that modern day comics continue to speak of Sid in awe and admiration.
Dave February 13, 2014 at 10:27 AM
No question Caesar was a genius but he also had a great eye for talent, hand picking his co-stars on "Show" and writers, Mel Brooks, an 18 year old Woody Allen, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart and Carl Reiner to name some of the most prominent. I had the great privilege and pleasure to see Mr Caesar give a two hour talk in the board room of the Screen Actor's Guild on Wilshire just east of the La Brea Tarpits about 8 years ago. Although the once tall and strapping Caesar had become shrunken and bent with age, once he was seated on the dais with moderator Joe Mantegna, you'd have thought you had been transported back to 1954 as Caesar came alive telling us of his memories working with all these great talents while tossing out some of his best bits- the foreign language imitations being as fresh and funny as they were on "Show of Shows". It was a night I won't soon forget and I am so glad I was able to see him in this small and intimate room. Rest in Peace, Sid. We won't be seeing your like again any time soon.
GreenInOC February 13, 2014 at 11:21 AM
@Dave, what a treat - I wish I had been able to listen to him speak in person.

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