The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Entertainment

February 13, 2014

TV comedy pioneer Sid Caesar dies at 91

LOS ANGELES — Carl Reiner remembers Sid Caesar as a great flame who drew comedy writer "moths" including Mel Brooks and Neil Simon to his side.

The genius of 1950s TV comedy is illuminating television even today. Shows from "Saturday Night Live" to sitcoms owe a debt to Caesar's brilliant interpretation of material by Brooks, Simon, Woody Allen and Reiner himself, among others.

He was "inarguably the greatest pantomimist, monologist and single sketch comedian who ever worked in television," Reiner said of the actor-comedian, who died Wednesday at his Los Angeles area home after a brief illness. He was 91.

"Your Show of Shows," 1950-54, with co-star Imogene Coca, and "Caesar's Hour," 1954-57, were his major achievements.

"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," Allen said in a statement.

While Caesar's sketch comedy lives on in shows like "SNL," his emphasis on humor born out of human nature is part of comedies such as "Modern Family," said longtime friend Eddy Friedfeld. He and Caesar wrote the 2003 biography "Caesar's Hours: My Life in Comedy, With Love and Laughter."

Among Caesar's TV staff writers, Friedfeld noted, several went on to create memorable sitcoms, including Reiner's "Dick Van Dyke Show," based on his "Your Show of Shows" experiences, and Larry Gelbart's "M-A-S-H."

While Caesar was best known for his TV shows, which have been revived on DVD in recent years, he also had success on Broadway and occasional film appearances, notably in "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World."

Caesar was born in 1922 in Yonkers, N.Y., the third son of an Austrian-born restaurant owner and his Russian-born wife. His first dream was to become a musician, and he played saxophone in bands in his teens.

Text Only
Entertainment
  • FEA HB0801 Heart_328 Tickets going fast for Heart Anyone wanting to rock out to Heart Friday night who hasn’t reserved tickets may be out of luck. Only a handful of tickets are still available for the band’s concert at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Live music: Aug. 1 Live entertainment at local venues as published in the Friday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 31, 2014

  • Band Day schedule Four high school bands from Madison County will compete in the Music Travel Consultants Band Day set for Aug. 2 at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand at the Indiana State Fair.

    July 30, 2014

  • NWS - HB0730 - frankton band day - 2 Frankton embraces challenges, advantages to starting Band Day James Handshoe is trying to clear away all the distractions.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • FEA HB0730 Gordon Brooks Berky strives to unite community through the arts His theater was originally going to be a place where he could perform when he’s not on tour, but then actor and mask maker Doug Berky had a bigger idea: Unite the community through entertainment.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0730 - NeverTooLate Portwood tells story of struggles in 'Never Too Late' Former TV personality Amber Portwood, who spent 17 months in prison, unveiled the cover of her forthcoming book, "Never Too Late," this week. The publication date is Aug. 26.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • 'Pawn Stars' TV star plans stores near famous shop

    The long parade of tourists who regularly stop by the downtown Las Vegas shop featured on the History Channel reality show "Pawn Stars" could soon have something better to do while waiting in line.

    July 29, 2014

  • Markleville Jamboree begins July 31 Is your baby the prettiest? Does your pet do amazing tricks? Do you bake, sew, craft? Do you like tractors? If any of this sounds like you, you're invited to join in the contests at the Markleville Jamboree.

    July 28, 2014

  • NWS - HB0728 - Colts Camp - 006 Armed Forces Day at Colts camp pairs Girl Scout cookies with veterans

    Pair Girl Scouts and their world-famous cookies with Armed Forces Day at Indianapolis Colts training camp, and you've got a winning combination. Operation: Cookie Drop, as it's called, is a program where customers buy boxes of cookies for delivery to active and retired military throughout central Indiana.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEA-HB0727-MCWinery-JC6.JPG Having a wine time

    Cathy Hensley’s never been much of a drinker. It wasn’t something that interested her very much, so it seemed unfathomable that she would ever run a winery. But after her son Eric offered her and her husband, Duke, some wine he made, it changed things.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo