Sid Caesar Dead: Comic Legend Dies at 91

Celebrity News Feb. 12, 2014 AT 4:45PM
Sid Ceaser posese for a portrait in 1993 Comic legend Sid Caesar, star of Your Show of Shows, died Feb. 12 at age 91 Credit: Harry Langdon/Getty Images

Nothing funny about this: Sid Caesar, a legend and pioneer of television sketch comedy, died Wednesday, Feb. 12, Variety reports. He was 91.

Caesar's friend and former collaborator Carl Reiner told Reuters he learned of the star's death from a mutual friend. The comedian had apparently been ill for at least the last year.

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Born in Yonkers, N.Y., Caesar started writing sketches for the Coast Guard musical revue Six On, Twelve Off after enlisting with the military branch prior to World War II. Through that, Variety reports, he landed a gig with Columbia Pictures, which launched his career in Hollywood.

From there he headed to New York, where he made the rounds at nightclubs and starred in the Broadway revue Make Mine Manhattan. He later appeared in the short-lived TV show Admiral Broadway Revue.

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His most famous role, however, was as the star of Your Show of Shows, a sketch comedy revue that featured skits by up-and-coming writers including Woody Allen and Mel Brooks. The show, later reimagined and renamed Caesar's Hour, ran from 1950 to 1957 and earned Caesar two Emmy Awards.

The iconic comedian -- who battled addiction for several years -- also had parts in movies such as It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World, Silent Movie, History of the World: Part 1, and Grease. (He played Coach Calhoun.) An inductee of the Television Academy Hall of Fame, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Television Critics Association in 2011.

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"No one could do what Sid did," Reiner told ABC News of his late pal. "He was the master of double talk. Pantomime, sketch comedy, whatever. He could do it all." 

Caesar is survived by his three children with his late wife Florence Levy, who died in 2010.

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