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Comedian Sid Caesar Dead at 91
Funnyman Sid Caesar, who helped shape television in the 1950′s had died at the age of 91. The cause of the comedians death is not known at the present time but a family friend, Rudy De Luca said, Caesar had respiratory problems and other health problems for years.
Sid Caesar was famous for “Your show of shows” lasted four years in 1950 and “Caesar’s Hour” followed soon after. The two shows had writers who became famous including Neil Simon, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Mel Tolkin, Lucille Kallen and Larry Gelbart. Woody Allen was also a writer on one of Sid Caesar’s comedy specials. According to CNN, De Luca said Mel Brooks visited Caesar last night to say goodbye.
“Sid Caesar was a giant-maybe the best comedian who ever practiced the trade & i was privileged to be one of his writers & one of his friends,” Brooks tweeted Wednesday. Caesar appeared in a few films, including “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” (1963), “Airport 1975″ (1974) and “Grease” (1978). In 1962 he received a Tony nomination for his performance in “Little Me,” with a book by Simon.
Isaac Sidney Caesar, was Sid Caesars real name. born in 1922, he was part of a group of personalities helped pioneer the early days of television. Jack Benny and Fred Allen really transferred their radio shows to the new medium and Milton Berle’s “Texaco Star Theater” was small screen vaudeville, Caesar’s “Show of Shows” utilized movie parodies, wordless pantomimes and lively routines between he and co-star Imogene Coca.
It was comedy pegged at a high (and often low) level, and it was done every Saturday night at 9, live. The always versatile Caesar “would take on several roles, whatever the writers came up with, he was willing to do,” wrote Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh in the reference “The Complete Directory to Prime-Time Network and Cable TV Shows. He was the double-talking foreigner ( a master of dialects), the henpecked husband or the greasy-haired cad.”
“When we came in, we didn’t have the slightest idea of what we were going to do. We christened the beginning of the week ‘Bloody Monday’ because we walked into the room with no material. We had three days to pitch lines and ideas and create six complete sketches,” Caesar recalled in a 2011 interview.
Carl Reiner tweeted, “We’ve lost the greatest, monologist, pantomimic, sketch comedian TV has ever known! Word GENIUS is oft misused but not so here. HAIL CAESAR.” Pressure led Caesar to heavy drinking and drug abuse. On stage in 1977, he went totally blank while performing. Soon after he checked himself into a hospital and got clean. In 2011 he said,”I couldn’t stand me, that’s why i drank and took pills. I couldn’t stand to be around me.”
In 1983, Caesar hosted “Saturday Night Live” and was made an honorary member of the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” at the end of the show. He was the only non “SNL” cast member to earn that title. He received two Emmys, a lifetime achievement award from the Television Critics Association and has a star on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was married to his sweetheart Florence Levy for 67 years until her death in 2010. They had three children. When he was asked by the Archive of American Television how he’d like to be remembered, he responded: “I brought laughter to the world.”
Image Credit: RumorfixComedian Sid Caesar Dead at 91 by Jaan