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.
The jokes have paid off for Carl Reiner. The legendary funnyman joined the list of comedians honored with The Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Award on Tuesday. Reiner joins Richard Pryor and Jonathan Winters as the comedians that the Center has honored every year since 1997, Reuters reports. Fellow comedians Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Martin and Dick Van Dyke were among the celebrities who spoke at the event to pay homage to Reiner.
The 78-year-old got his big break in 1950 on Sid Caesar's classic TV shows "Your Show of Shows" and "Caesar's Hour." Before that, he spent three years on Broadway. But he hit the big time on the small screen in 1961 when he created and wrote "The Dick Van Dyke Show."
``That was my baby. It was about my reality, my life, my ideas and thoughts. So I'm most proud of that,'' he told reporters before the Kennedy Center gala.
Later, he went on to write and direct dozens of TV series and films. His directing credits include "The Jerk," "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," "The Man With Two Brains" and "All of Me" -- all of which starred Martin.