Carl Reiner is an American actor, film director, producer, writer and comedian. He has won nine Emmy Awards and one Grammy Award during this career. He has the distinction of being the only person to appear on all five incarnations of The Tonight Show. He is well known for his work in the remake of Ocean’s Eleven, and its two sequels, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen.
Reiner was born in the Bronx, New York, the son of Bessie from Hungary and Romanian-born Irving Reiner, who was a watchmaker. His parents were Jewish. They immigrated to the United States in the 19th century. When he was sixteen, his older brother Charlie read in the New York Daily News about a free dramatic workshop being put on by the Works Progress Administration and told him about it. He had been working as a machinist fixing sewing machines. He credits Charlie with changing his career plans. Reiner was educated at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and served in the United States Army during World War II.
Reiner performed in several Broadway musicals, including Inside U.S.A., and Alive and Kicking, and had the lead role in Call Me Mister. 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. He also worked on Caesar’s Hour with Brooks, Simon, Larry Gelbart, Mel Tolkin, Mike Stewart, Aaron Ruben, Sheldon Keller and Gary Belkin.
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, the recast and retitled show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, became a hit. In addition to usually writing the show, Reiner occasionally appeared as temperamental show host “Alan Brady,” who ruthlessly browbeats his brother-in-law. The show ran from 1961 to 1966. In 1966, he co-starred in the Norman Jewison film The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming.