Veteran actor Carl Reiner and his late comedian pal Sid Caesar will be honoured at the upcoming Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival. The 92-year-old Ocean's Eleven star will be given the lifetime achievement prize, while his colleague Caesar will be remembered in a special memorial tribute on the opening night of the ninth annual event on 1 May (14).
TV icon Caesar, who passed away in February at the age of 91, will be honoured with a screening of the 1973 documentary Ten From Your Show of Shows, which is a compilation of skits from his 1950s variety programme, on which Reiner served as a writer.
Everybody Loves Raymond executive producer Phil Rosenthal will present the awards for Caesar and Reiner during the film festival launch gala in Beverly Hills.
Sid Caesar's comedy co-horts Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks and Woody Allen are leading the tributes to the veteran funnyman following his death on Wednesday (12Feb14) at the age of 91. The TV icon was the star of beloved 1950s variety programme Your Show of Shows, performing alongside Reiner and acting out sketches co-written by Brooks, and now his colleagues are mourning his loss.
In a statement issued to The Hollywood Reporter, Reiner writes, "Inarguably he was the greatest single monologist and skit comedian we ever had. Television owes him a debt of gratitude for his pioneering work and the great shows he gave us all. Render onto Caesar what is his due. He deserves real applause from the American people."
Brooks adds, "Sid Caesar was a giant - maybe the best comedian who ever practiced the trade. And I was privileged to be one of his writers and one of his friends."
And Allen, who worked with Caesar on a number of his TV specials in the late 1950s, states, "He was one of the truly great comedians of my time, and one of the finest privileges I've had in my entire career was that I was able to work for him."
Newsman Larry King and actors Whoopi Goldberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger were among the first to remember the late star on Twitter.com, and now Marlee Matlin has added her comments, writing, "RIP Sid Caesar. A long and illustrious life, heaven must've needed some laughs and called up this pioneer and first gentleman of comedy", while director Jon Favreau adds, "RIP Sid Caesar. A pioneer and a genius."
I have watched Sid Caesar's This Is Your Life parody sketch over a dozen times. As a kid, I worked my way into Caesar's comedy by way of the more effortlessly accessible Mel Brooks. I revisited the talents of the writer and performer after his 2001 appearance on Whose Line Is It Anyway. And Caesar was hardly overlooked in my comedy writing curriculum in college. There isn't a great deal of material from Pat Weaver's Your Show of Shows, on which Caesar canonized his prowess, readily available today. Like the stand-up of Lenny Bruce, the groundbreaking variety show is only made more legendary by its dearth of preservation. But there is one sketch in particular that hasn't entirely evaded the public grasp, thanks in equal parts to good luck and the notion that the world might crumble were we to lose it forever: "This Is Your Story," the aforementioned parody sketch that starred Caesar opposite Carl Reiner and Howard Morris in a 10-minute long bout of expertly executed hysteria.
If you've never seen the routine, take a few to watch in full before reading on:
Long after its 1953 air date, "This Is Your Story" is lauded as one of the funniest comedy sketches in television history. To pinpoint exactly why might be futile, as comedy is more art than science (though a share of both, admittedly), but there is a word I keep going back to every time I watch, and laugh at, the skit: sincerity.
The scene opens on a set of no stark dissimilarity to that of This Is Your Life. It doesn't exactly poke fun at the documentary series or contort any of its conventions, like a Saturday Night Live episode might do with Jeopardy or the evening news. In fact, everything out of Carl Reiner's (playing the nameless host) mouth from beginning to end is utterly sincere, and would fit right at home on an actual episode of the sketch's source material. He never even loses that smile once the mayhem takes hold.
But this mayhem in question is not born from particularly crazy characters. In fact, it's born from a question that just about anyone who has ever seen an episode of This Is Your Life has asked: "How would I act in a situation like this?" Odds are, most of us would land closer to the behaviors exhibited in the parody than on the stuffier, more rigid, and far less sincere performances on the actual program. "This Is Your Story" feels like it was the result of Caesar, Reiner, and Weaver watching This Is Your Life and saying, "This can't be real. You know what would really happen?" And clicking with the realization of just how funny that real display would be.
Of course, "This Is Your Story" doesn't shy away from ridiculous. When you've got talented comics like Caesar, Reiner, and Morris, you can translate real emotion into genius delivery and masterful physical comedy (Morris is a breakout in this sketch, latching his diminutive frame to the much larger bodies of his costars without relent). A few "gags" are tossed in — the snapshot of a grown Caesar's head on a baby's body, Caesar smooching a perfect stranger, and even Morris' character name ("Uncle Goopy!"). But all in all, the comedy here comes from honesty. The honest pandemonium that lives within each of us.
Caesar once said "Comedy has to be based on truth," adding, "You take the truth and you put a little curlicue at the end." Perhaps his most famous sketch, "This Is Your Story" exhibits this perfectly — just how funny the real world is when we take a sincere look at it.
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U.S. comedy veteran Sid Caesar has died at the age of 91. The TV icon's friend and collaborator Carl Reiner and biographer Eddy Friedfeld confirmed the sad news on Wednesday (12Feb14).
Caesar starred on beloved 1950s TV variety show Your Show of Shows and went on to host Caesar's Hour, and he also appeared in films like It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Airport 1975, Silent Movie and Grease.
Flowers will be placed on his Walk of Fame star in Hollywood on Wednesday afternoon.
Newsman Larry King was among the first celebrities to pay tribute to Caesar on his Twitter.com page on Wednesday (12Feb14). He wrote, "Sorry to learn about the passing of Sid Caesar-a dear friend, a comic genius & an American classic. There will never be another one like him."
Whoopi Goldberg added her tribute on Twitter too, writing, "Life...doing her thing, another great has passed Sid Caesar. Funny man We honored him at the very first Comic Relief. RIP turn turn turn", while Arnold Schwarzenegger posted, "We've lost one of the greats. Sid Caesar was a fantastic comedian and entertainer. His quadlingual schtick was always a hit. We'll miss him."
The son of Jewish immigrants, Isaac Sidney Caesar began his career in the late 1940s and won his first Emmy Award in 1952 as a regular on Your Show of Shows. He was also Emmy nominated for his appearances in Mad About You and Love & War.
Caesar was also a theatre veteran and earned a Tony Award nomination for his multiple roles in 1962 Broadway musical Little Me, based on the book by Neil Simon. He later starred alongside Carol Channing and Tommy Lee Jones in a Broadway production of Four on a Garden in 1971, and also performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in the late 1980s.
He was also an accomplished saxophonist and studied the instrument at the Julliard School of Music before becoming an actor/comedian.
He was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 and received a career achievement award from the Television Critics Association in 2001. He was also voted America's Best Comedian by Motion Picture Daily's TV poll in 1951 and 1952 and won a Sylvania Award in 1958 for his work in television.
Caesar's autobiographies, Where Have I Been and Caesar's Hours, both chronicled his struggle to overcome alcoholism and drug addictions.
Be you a renowned boxer, a sitcom star, or a cinematic legend, you're bound to have interesting stories. Last night's late night television circuit featured three celebrities sharing some humorous accounts from their own personal lives, both past and present. Kicking things off is Mike Tyson, who went into detail about his days in prison. Up next, Modern Family's Julie Bowen, who delved into her "love affair" with Rob Lowe. And finally, Mel Brooks, whose insane stories range from remembering World War II as a musical to being held out of a window by a drunk Sid Caesar.
Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!
You wouldn't necessarily peg Mike Tyson as a fan of the theatre, but you'd be sorely mistaken. The iconic boxer stopped by Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! to discuss his future as a stage actor — he'll be touring with a one man show, Undisputed Truth, starting in Indiana — and to recount some of the more pressing difficulties during his time in prison... but at least he had some notable visitors, i.e., The Brady Bunch star Florence Henderson.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
To dream the impossible dream: kissing Rob Lowe. It's something that a large percentage of the American population would have done anything to achieve back in the 1980s... and now, Julie Bowen has planted a flag on that Everest. The Modern Family star visited The Tonight Show to talk about the upcoming film Knife Fight in which she, as she enthusiastically told Jay, got to live out her teenage dream with Mr. Oxford Blues.
Finally, Conan welcomed film legend Mel Brooks, who divulged a few interesting tales about his own kleptomania and some behind-the-scenes secrets from the set of Blazing Saddles, and had an unfortunate beverage accident (much to the chagrin of a nearby crew member).
[Photo Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC]
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In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
The film, set during World War One, has been recognised in the Feature Film category alongside Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dolphin Tale and animated family movie Rio.
TV series Hawaii Five-O and The Glades have received nods for Dramatic Series, while the Sid Caesar Comedy Award nominees include news show The Colbert Report, cartoon The Cleveland Show and Melissa Joan Hart's family sitcom Melissa & Joey.
The Genesis Awards, which celebrate movies with animal-friendly themes and creative portrayals of animal protection, will take place in Hollywood on 24 March (12).
Gelbart got his big break writing jokes for comedians Sid Caesar and Danny Thomas and became a staff member on The Red Buttons Show in the early 1950s.
He went on to write for variety shows fronted by Judy Garland and Danny Kaye.
He also wrote the book A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, which became a hit play and movie.
Gelbart was diagnosed with cancer in June (09). He died on Friday (11Sep09).
C'mon, Anna, don't be greedy. The Associated Press reports Anna Nicole Smith, the former Playboy Playmate who married oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall, tried to squeeze another $30 million out of her late husband's estate but was denied by a federal judge Thursday. The $88 million she was awarded in March will just have to do. And Smith's critics thought she married the then 89-year-old Marshall just for money...
Speaking of J. Howard Marshall, if we learn nothing else from him, at least we know it's never too late to be a bachelor. Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins, 64, was granted a divorce Tuesday in England from Jenny, his wife of 29 years, the AP reports. The pair had been separated for several years.
Spanish beauty Penelope Cruz (Vanilla Sky) will show off her vocal abilities to help her favorite charity, SkyNews.com reports. Cruz is cutting an album that will benefit the Sabera Foundation, an organization that helps homeless girls in Calcutta.
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If you're going to see the movie Spider-Man this weekend, don't forget the red superhero's origins. Entertainment Weekly features the top five most collectable Spider-Man comic books and reports the Amazing Fantasy #15 Aug. 1962 edition is worth as much as $40,000, if in near-perfect condition. Ah, so that's what they mean by holding on to childhood memories.
As if her failure of an album Glitter wasn't enough, music fans have spoken: Mariah Carey needs to hang it up. According to a poll on popdirt.com that asked users, "If you could remove one pop act's music from the face of the Earth, who would it be?" the songbird came in first. Trailing Mariah are Jennifer Lopez and 'N SYNC.
Elton John holds a new title--he's the first pop star to perform inside Buckingham Palace. Friday, the rocket man recorded a song from the royal Blue Drawing Room to be broadcast on a giant screen for the Queen's Golden Jubilee concert on June 3, the BBC reports. John opted for the recording since he'll be on tour when the Queen's gala takes place.
Some of music's biggest names are soaking up the sun in West Palm Beach, Fla. this weekend. Bonnie Rait, No Doubt, George Thoroghgood and the Destroyers, Rick James, War, the Doobie Brothers, Ja Rule and Earth, Wind and Fire have either performed Friday or Saturday or will perform Sunday, making this year's annual SunFest a StarFest.
What do you get when you mix a vampire-slayer and a short, round funnyman? We're not sure either, but Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jack Black will be hosting the 2002 MTV Movie Awards. The show will happens on June 1 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, but the TV broadcast is June 6 at 9 p.m.
Try not to step on Bill Cosby when you visit New York, OK? On Friday, the veteran comedian was inducted into the NBC Walk of Fame and now a plaque bearing his name has been laid in the floor of the NBC Experience store in Rockefeller Center, N.Y. Cosby joins previous Walk of Famers, the late Milton Berle and Sid Caesar, the AP reports.
It might be the small screen, but it's no small celebration.
NBC has flipped through its rolodex and called on anyone who's now or ever been associated with the peacock network to honor its 75th anniversary as the nation's first broadcast network Sunday night.
Hosts Kelsey Grammer, Bill Cosby, Tom Brokaw and Jerry Seinfeld will kick off a live, three-hour special from Studio 8-H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza to show off clips highlighting some of NBC's most memorable shows.
They'll also talk with cast members from current shows--like Friends, Will & Grace, ER--and past favorites--including Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jeannie, Peter Falk of Columbo and Sid Caesar of Your Show of Shows.
The walk down memory lane begins tonight at 8 p.m. EST. (On NBC, of course.)