Sid Caesar, icon of television and comedy, dies at age 91

By Daniel S Levine,

Sid Caesar, an innovator in the world of television comedy, has died. He was 91-years-old.

The news of Caesar’s death was first announced on Twitter by television host Larry King. “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,” King wrote.

Caesar’s best known creation was Your Show of Shows, a 90-minute live sketch comedy program that began in 1950, notes Entertainment Weekly. That lasted four years and soon became Caesar’s Hour, which ran until 1957. He was paired with Imogene Coca, who managed to keep up with his zany dialogue.

The writing crew on Your Show of Shows reads like a who’s who list of legendary comedians in both film and television. As Variety notes, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks and Neil Simon all worked with Caesar.

Simon once said the show worked because they made fun of the truth. “Other television shows would present situations with farcical characters; we would put real-life people into identifiable situations,” Simon said, reports Variety.

After the 1950s, Caesar descended into alcoholism before re-emerging from a “20 year blackout,” as he called it and publishing his memoir, Where Have I Been, in 1982. He also wrote another memoir in 2004 called Caesar’s Hours. He joined the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1985.

Caesar made occasional movie appearances and can be seen in Stanley Kramer’s It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World and Brooks’ Silent Movie.

image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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