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On this Day in Movie History, March 20, 1922: Carl Reiner Born

On this day in 1922 Carl Reiner was born. Born in the Bronx, New York, he was the son of Bessie (née Mathias) and Irving Reiner, who was a watchmaker.

In 1950, he was cast by producer Max Leibman in Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, appearing on air in skits while also working alongside writers such as Mel Brooks and Neil Simon.

Starting in 1960, on the Steve Allen Show, Reiner teamed with Mel Brooks as a comedy duo. Their performances on stage and television included Reiner playing the straight man to Brooks’ 2000 Year Old Man character.

In 1959, Reiner developed a television pilot, Head of the Family, based on his experience on the Caesar shows. However, the network didn’t like Reiner in the lead role. In 1961, it was recast and retitled The Dick Van Dyke Show, and became an iconic series, making stars of his lead actors Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. In addition to writing many of the episodes, Reiner occasionally appeared as temperamental show host “Alan Brady”, who ruthlessly browbeats his brother-in-law (played by Richard Deacon). The show ran from 1961 to 1966. Reiner began his directing career on the Van Dyke show.

After that show ended its run, Reiner’s first film feature was an adaptation of Joseph Stein’s play Enter Laughing (1967), which in turn was based on Reiner’s semi-autobiographical 1958 novel of the same name.

Balancing writing, directing, producing, and acting, Reiner has worked on a wide range of films and television programs. Probably the best-known films of his early directing career were the cult comedy Where’s Poppa? (1970), starring George Segal and Ruth Gordon, Oh, God! (1977) with George Burns and The Jerk (1979) with Steve Martin.

Reiner played a large role in the early career of Steve Martin, by directing and co-writing four films for the comedian: The Jerk in 1979, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid in 1982, The Man with Two Brains in 1983, and All of Me in 1984. Reiner also appeared in both The Jerk and Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.

In 2000, Reiner was honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. A year later, he played thief and con man Saul Bloom in Steven Soderbergh’s remake of Ocean’s Eleven and has reprised that role in its sequels, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen. In 2004 he voiced the lion Sarmoti in the animated TV series Father of the Pride.

1908 – Sir Michael (Scudamore) Redgrave (actor: Goodbye Mr. Chips, Heidi, Importance of Being Earnest, Nicholas and Alexandra; died Mar 21, 1985)

1914 – Wendell Corey (actor: The Rainmaker, Sorry Wrong Number, Rear Window, Buckskin, The Astro-Zombies, The Light in the Forest; died Nov 8, 1968)

1931 – Hal Linden (Harold Lipshitz) (actor: Barney Miller, How to Break up a Happy Divorce, Starflight One, A New Life)

1950 – William Hurt (actor: Broadcast News, The Accidental Tourist, Altered States, The Big Chill, Trial by Jury, Children of a Lesser God)

1957 – Theresa Russell (actress: The Spy Within, Straight Time, Black Widow, The Last Tycoon)

1957 – Spike Lee (Director | Producer | Writer | Actor)

1958 – Holly Hunter (actress: The Burning, Raising Arizona, End of the Line, Broadcast News, Miss Firecracker, Animal Behavior, Always, Once Around, The Piano, The Firm, Home for the Holidays, Crash, A Life Less Ordinary, Living Out Loud)

1961 – John Clark Gable (actor: Bad Jim, A Burning Passion: The Margaret Mitchell Story, Clark Gable: Tall, Dark and Handsome; son of actor Clark Gable)

1970 – Michael Rapaport (actor: Point of No Return, Poetic Justice, Money for Nothing, True Romance, The Scout, Hand Gun, Higher Learning, The Basketball Diaries, Kiss of Death, Metro,Deep Blue Sea, Small Time Crooks)

1979 – Bianca Lawson (actress:

1984 – Christy Carlson Romano (actress: Everyone Says I Love You. Henry Fool, Goosed, Looking for an Echo)
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